Sunday, September 30, 2012

The German Woodcut: Renaissance and Expressionist Revival

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Geramny, 1909, Woodcut, Bathers Tossing Reeds

May 5, 2012–September 9, 2012, LA County Museum of Art
A Review by Kris Westreich

I thought this exhibition was particularly successful. Not only was the quality of the work superb, but also the way they displayed it demonstrated the distinctly German characteristics of these modern artists. By displaying those prints next to German Renaissance artists, the exhibition links together the traditions of the medium across generations. I was particularly taken with Kirchner's prints Bathers Tossing Reeds and Portrait of Ludwig Schames as well as the Kollwitz prints.

Hans Baldung Grien, Germany, Woodcut, 1534, Stallion and Kicking Mare with Wild Horses

Technically, it was interesting to note the difference between the modern and renaissance artists. The old master prints tend to lean more towards chiaroscuro and graduated value distribution. In order to achieve that, the artists had to work on minute details, such as in Stallion and Kicking Mare with Wild Horses by Hans Baldung Grien.

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