Saint Christopher, c. 1509

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Lucas Cranach helped launch the fashion in northern Europe for chiaroscuro woodcuts, a technique of making a print from two or more blocks—one carrying the black lines of the design and the other block or blocks carrying the color. This popular woodcut shows Saint Christopher, whose name means "Christ bearer," ferrying the Christ Child across the river as the boy grows heavier and heavier. Though dated 1506 in the woodblock, this print was more likely created a few years later and backdated so that Cranach could claim that he invented this specialized printmaking technique.

Saint Christopher
Artist Life
(Saxony), 1472 - 1553
Accession Number
P (unidentified), Lugt 2065; Ambroise Firmin-Didot (1790-1866), Lugt 119, Paris (until 1877; his sale, Hotel Druout, Paris, April 16-May 12, 1877, April 27, no. 1953, for Fr 105, to Gutekunst). Henry S. Theobald (1847-1934), Lugt 1375, London (until 1910; his sale, Gutekunst, Stuttgart, May 12-14, 1910, no. 173). [Frederick Keppel & Co., New York, until 1916; sold, May 9, for $280, to Jones]; Herschel V. Jones, Minneapolis (May 9, 1916 - d. May 24, 1928; bequeathed to Mia)
Catalogue Raisonne
Hollstein ia/iie; Bartsch 58
Curator Approved

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