Hans Burgkmair (German, 1473-1531)
woodcut, in black and white on paper washed blue, Sheet - h:32.30 w:22.70 cm (h:12 11/16 w:8 7/8 inches). John L. Severance Fund 1950.72
In about 1507, Lucas Cranach produced Saint George and the Dragon, printing the woodcut on paper washed with blue. The outline block was printed in black ink, but the highlight block was printed with an adhesive to which gold flocking was applied. The impression mimicked popular, 16th-century chiaroscuro pen-and-ink drawings, in which brown or black wash creates shadows, highlights are white, gold, or silver, and the composition is executed on paper washed a middle tone. To create a chiaroscuro woodcut, a line block and a tone block are printed, leaving the unprinted areas of white paper to serve as highlights.
Burgkmair was commissioned to respond to Saint George and the Dragon, and the result, Emperor Maximilian on Horseback, was deployed to demonstrate that Burgkmair's ingenuity surpassed Cranach's. Only three first-state impressions exist: Cleveland's, printed in black and white on paper washed with blue; one printed in black, gold, and silver on paper washed sanguine; and another printed in black and gold on parchment.