Woodcut, hand colored with watercolor
Support: Cream(3) laid paper
Sheet: 26.9 x 38.8 cm (10 9/16 x 15 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1986.91
Edition: probably Schreiber III or IV
This sheet was hand-colored with a limited palette, so that black, for example, plays dual roles of the color of hair, and the shadow on a building.
This hand-colored leaf is from the blockbook Biblia Pauperum (Bible of the Poor), which served as an educational handbook for laymen and clerics. Blockbooks, in which images and text were carved in relief from a single block of wood, are the earliest form of printed text in Europe. On each page, two Old Testament episodes flank a New Testament scene, implying a connection between the stories. At left is Christ’s baptism between the Pharaoh’s drowned army and spies returning from Canaan. To the right is Christ’s temptation bordered by Esau selling his birthright to Jacob and the temptation of Adam and Eve.
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