We’ve got a move to San Diego coming this fall, so I’ve promised my husband I won’t start any new books until after the move, to keep things as simple as possible. This has proven a really hard promise to keep, as new book possibilities keep popping up everywhere! However, I just promised I wouldn’t “start” any new books, not that I wouldn’t PLAN any new books! See, words? They matter! LOL
So I’ve been looking through the Geisberg scans, and this one
The Martyrdom of Saint Catherine,ca. 1498, caught my attention for several reasons.
The first reason is that someone in a group was complaining that most of Durer’s artwork is allegorical, aka not usable for documentation. While I agree that SOME allegorical artwork is based on fantasy garments, A LOT of it is based on real clothes, the trick is knowing the difference, and that really comes through experience. The soldier in this woodcut is wearing pretty typically styled clothes for soldiers of this decade. I’d be pretty comfortable including it in a piece of documentation for a suit of clothes made in this style, or including it in a book of woodcuts chronicling the fashions of the Landsknecht through the decades. But what do you think? Where does the line fall for you? Is the artwork automatically out of bounds if it’s an allegorical piece, or is it OK if the clothes are based in reality?
By the way, the Met Museum actually has an original 16th century printing block for it, which I’ve included next to the woodcut print. I think it’s really cool to see how what the blocks look like compared to the prints. Here’s the link to see it up close.
I am curious to know your thoughts on this piece, and also where you draw the line on using allegorical artwork in documentation.