Buxheim St. Christopher

Buxheim St. Christopher

Date 1423

Movement Northern Renaissance

Medium Hand-colored woodcut

Dimensions 11.5 x 8″

Housed at John Rylands University Library


With the advent of the printing press in Europe, widespread literacy and bookmaking sprung to life. Block books served as alternatives to illuminated manuscripts and were considerably cheaper—they became popular amongst the lower and middle classes. Bold lines form the outlines of figures, while thinner hatchings create the illusion of shadows. Here, St. Christopher, a giant, ferries the Christ Child across a river; the image is influenced by Gothic styles, though it is two-dimensional (the landscape surrounds the figures of the foreground).