John Jānis Šteins

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Q&A ~ Is the Flammarion woodcut medieval?

I’m trying to find out more information about this wonderful image called Flammarion.


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  1. John Steins January 1, 2011

    This happens to be one of those wonderful images that so aptly describes man’s transition as an earth bound creature to one reaching out beyond the limiting atmosphere and exploring what lies beyond.

    To paraphrase a Wikipedea entry on this; supposedly the astronomer Ernst Zinner claimed that the image was a work from the German Renaissance. He was unable to find any version published earlier than 1906. Further investigation revealed that the work was a composite of images characteristic of different historical periods, and that it had been made with a burin, the engraver’s tool, only used on wood for wood engraving from the late 18th century onwards.

    I somehow doubt that a burin was used to make this print as opposed to regular woodcut gouges and chisels. The determining factor would be whether or not the block was cut on the end grain or not.

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