ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
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.
Planning your visit
Open today till 6:00 pm
Daily 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday 10.00 – 20.00
Barer Straße 40
Sunday admission 1€
Thursday – Saturday 10€
Day pass (Alte Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne, Museum Brandhorst, Sammlung Schack) 12€
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.