Lovers Surprised by Death
Chiaroscuro woodcut from three blocks
Inv. No. 30945
21.3 × 15.1 cm
The complicated technique of printing with multiple woodcut blocks creates a painting-like quality: not only colour effects are attained with it, but lighter and darker passages are shown in contrast with a tone of medium intensity (“chiaroscuro”). The painter Hans Burgkmair of Augsburg was a pioneer in this technique. Against the backdrop of an Italianate architectural ensemble, his early masterwork shows a scene in which the abrupt assault of Death puts an end to a young couple’s romantic bliss.