The Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München possesses one of the world's most important collections of German single-leaf woodcuts from the 15th century. The first European woodcuts were made around 1400. While the process for printing on fabrics was already known, it was now used for the first time for image prints on the new medium paper and allowed inexpensive multiplication of image inventions in large editions. This was the only way to make images accessible and affordable for wide circles. Above all, religious subjects for private devotion were in demand. Attached to the wall, the early woodcuts provided divine assistance; images of saints protected against diseases and epidemics. Quickly worn out through use, these early prints are now among the rarest treasures. They have survived - often in a single copy! - mostly only if they were glued into books.

Die hl. Dorothea mit dem Jesuskind, Unbekannt Deutschland Bayern 15. Jh., Holzschnitt, schwarzer Handdruck, blassgelbbraun laviert, 217 x 197 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 171506 D, Foto: © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

Planning your visit

Today closed

Opening Hours

Daily 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday 10.00 – 20.00
Monday closed


Pinakothek der Moderne
Barer Straße 40
80333 München

Admission prices (Inclusive opening hours )

Sunday admission 1€

Thursday – Saturday 10€
reduced 7€
Day pass (Alte Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne, Museum Brandhorst, Sammlung Schack) 12€

Duration of the visit

ca. 60 minutes


information here

Further visitor information

More information about your visit
Das Lamm Gottes, Unbekannt Deutschland 15. Jh., 1470 - 1480, Holzschnitt, koloriert, 146 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 1962:767 D, Foto: © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München
Das Lamm Gottes, Unbekannt Deutschland 15. Jh., 1470 - 1480, Holzschnitt, koloriert, 146 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 1962:767 D, Foto: © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München

The cradle of European printmaking

But these early leaves are not only significant as historical evidence. They are outstanding masterpieces of linear expressiveness: the straight-lined will to make a direct statement created works of expressive boldness - very much supported by the intensity of the coloration that was absolutely necessary in the early period. Since the earliest woodcuts were made in the Bavarian-Salzburg region, they survived there. The woodcuts, which were taken over from Bavarian monastery libraries in 1803 as secularization material, are among the oldest works of their kind. No other collection in the world can document the early days of woodcuts as brilliantly as the Munich cabinet. The cradle of European printmaking is proudly preserved here.

The extensive restoration of all works is due to the generous financing by the Edith-Haberland-Wagner-Foundation and is the occasion for the presentation of selected capital prints. The catalogue is generously made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung.

Works for the exhibition

Unbekannt Deutschland
Der Hl. Antonius, um Hilfe gebeten von an Mutterkornvergiftung Erkrankte.
Süddeutschland (Schwaben?), um 1450, Holzschnitt, alt koloriert, 382 x 264 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 118241 D
Unbekannt Deutschland
Christus am Kreuz mit Maria und Johannes
Bayern oder Salzburg um 1410/20, Holzschnitt (blassgelb, grau, zinnober und schwarz (Hintergrund) bemalt), 260 x 185 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 118123 D
Unbekannt Deutschland
Das Jesuskind mit einem Vogel und Neujahrswunsch
Oberrhein (um 1465?), Holzschnitt, Schwarzer Reiberdruck, Bemalung hellgelb, rosa, zinnober, karmesin, graublau und oliv, 177 x 128 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 118287 D
Unbekannt Deutschland
Die Krönung Mariae
Süddeutschland um 1420/30, Holzschnitt, grün, gelbbraun, grau und zinnober bemalt, 200 x 276 mm (Blatt), Inv.-Nr. 118195 D
Vielen Dank!

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