Wood printing plates from the Dürer era – species identification and anatomical study

IRG/WP 07-20364

M Penkuhn, W Unger

Anatomical examinations serve to answer questions regarding the artistic technique and authenticity of art objects made of wood. The wood of 28 printing plates from the 15th and 16th centuries from the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett were investigated. Seven of these which date from the Dürer era (Albrecht Dürer, 1471-1528) were examined in more detail. With one exception, the plates from the Dürer era were made of wood of the family Rosaceae, subfamily Pomoideae. The greatest similarity was found with the genera Pyrus, Malus, and Crataegus. Pyrus communis is especially suitable for the manufacture of printing plates because of its uniform texture, high density, and hardness. Wood from the family Betulaceae, genus Alnus, was used for only one of the plates.

Keywords: Dürer era, printing plates, wood anatomy

Conference: 07-05-20/24 Jackson, USA

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