Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Liber Cronicarum

  • Object:

    Woodcut

  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (made)

  • Date:

    1493 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Schedel, Hartmann (compiler)
    Koberger, Anton (publisher)
    Wolgemut, Michel, born 1434 - died 1519 (artist)
    Pleydenwurff, Wilhelm (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woodcut and letterpress on paper in bound volume

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Eustace F. Bosanquet

  • Museum number:

    E.20-1941

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case 95, shelf E, box 16

This page is bound into a collection of images of Adam and Eve compiled by a former owner. It was removed from a book entitled Liber Chronicarum, or 'Nuremberg Chronicle', published in 1493 by printer Anton Koberger. One of the most ambitious books produced in the 15th century with over 1000 woodcut illustrations, the 'Nuremberg Chronicle' was also one of the earliest books with illustrations designed by artists rather than blockcutters. Koberger commissioned Michael Wolgemut, who ran a large art workshop, to design the illustrations and layout between 1487 and 1491. Wolgemut was helped by his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff

Woodcut images could be printed on the same page as text because the type used to print the words and the woodcut image were both in relief, so they could be set together in the same frame (called a ‘forme’) and printed simultaneously.

In common with practice at the time, not all of the images in the Chronicle were original designs, some being copies after artists like Martin Schongauer, and some being used more than once in the same book. But where earlier woodcut book illustrations were simple outlines the use of light and tone shows how differently an artist responded to the potential of the woodcut medium. Books like this led to artists such as Albrecht Dürer considering the potential of the woodcut as a medium of expression. Dürer trained under Wolgemut between 1486 and 1489 at around the time when Wolgemut received the commission for this book.

Physical description

Page from a book with an illustration showing, in one image, the Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve. To the right is the garden of Eden enclosed in walls with a turretted gate from which four rivers flow. Adam and Eve stand on either side of an apple tree, each holding an apple, and also covering the lower private parts with a fig leaf. A snake wraps around the trunk of the tree. In the garden are palm trees and a stone well. To the left is a wall and iron arched gate with door ajar, and in front of this Adam and Eve, still covering themselves with fig leaves, are sent on their way by St Michael with his sword aloft. The page is whole and text and decorative initials are still intact. This is Folio VII.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (made)

Date

1493 (published)

Artist/maker

Schedel, Hartmann (compiler)
Koberger, Anton (publisher)
Wolgemut, Michel, born 1434 - died 1519 (artist)
Pleydenwurff, Wilhelm (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Woodcut and letterpress on paper in bound volume

Dimensions

Height: 39.1 cm sheet, Width: 25.2 cm sheet, Height: 25.5 cm woodcut, Width: 25.5 cm woodcut

Descriptive line

Cutting from Nuremberg Chronicle (Liber Chronicarum), with woodcut illustration by Wolgemut depicting Adam and Eve; attributed to Michel Wolgemut, published 1493, Nuremberg, by Anton Koberger, compiled by Hartmann Schedel.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Smith, Jeffrey Chipps. Nuremberg: a Renaissance City, 1500-1618. University of Texas, 1983., p. 92ff.
Bartrum, Giulia. German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550. London: British Museum Press, 1995.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1941, London: HMSO, 1954.

Materials

Ink; Paper

Techniques

Wood-cutting; Letterpress

Subjects depicted

Well; Palm trees; Swords; Serpent; Garden of Eden; Apple tree; Apples; Gate; Water gates; Fig leaf

Categories

Books; Illustration; Religion; Christianity; Prints; Woodcuts

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.