You can find insights about heartbreak all over Instagram or Tinder – with some dating back to 1485.
Hearts can be broken in 18 ways, according to a woodcut called “Lady Venus and the Lover” by Meister Casper. The artwork is now part of the show “Woodcut: From 1400 to the Present,” at Berlin’s Kupferstichkabinett, the museum of prints and drawings.
More than 100 works by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Käthe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, Joseph Beuys and Wassily Kandinsky are on display at the exhibition that opens on Friday and runs through to Septemer 11.
It includes materials, printing plates and sheets that trace the development of the technique from its beginnings to the present day, selected by director Dagmar Korbacher and her team.
The exhibition illustrates how the original wooden blocks were infested by pests, evidence of which was transferred to the paper prints. You can also see how artists coordinated the use of several different printing plates to create pictures in a range of colours.
Many of the works on display were intended for day-to-day use, from playing cards to notices. Korbacher says this shows the diversity and sensuality of this printing technique, the oldest known.
However, it is still used by artists today, including Berlin-based artist Nasan Tur. The exhibition opens with his work “Giving is Taking” from 2015, along with Hans Sebald Beham’s “Parable of the Prodigal Son” from around 1535.
The woodcuts are the start of a new series of exhibitions at the Kupferstichkabinett, each presenting a different printing technique.