Beloit College - Nuremberg Chronicle
 - Artists

The two artists who were responsible for overseeing the design and illustration of the Chronicle were Michael Wohlgemut (1434-1519) and his stepson Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (c. 1450-1494). Their workshop, which originally produced only woodcuts, altars and sculptures, "quickly specialized in the new art of book illustration, employing draughtsmen who transferred the design of the artist onto the woodblock, and cutters who then carved the block with a hollow stylus."3

The young Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Michael Wohlgemut's apprentice, trained in this workshop from 1486-1489, when many of the early designs for the illustrations of the Chronicle were created. Because of Dürer's presence, art historians have explored in detail possible connections between the Chronicle's numerous illustrations and those created by the prolific and talented Dürer later in life. One example put forward as possibly Dürer-inspired is the "Sun and Moon" woodcut on folio LXXVIr (repeated on folio XLVIIr). "In contrast to the less expressive suns in the rest of the Chronicle, this sun is," according to Stefan Füssel, "distinguished by a more delicately worked face, confident draughtsmanship and varied bundling of rays."4 It also partly resembles the sun and moon on the sixth sheet of the Apocalypse which Dürer produced in 1498. Of course, it this is by Dürer, it is important to remember that this is Dürer filtered through two other people, the copyist and the woodblock cutter.5


3Füssel, Stephan. Chronicle of the World. (Koln, 2001) p. 17.
4Füssel, Stephan. Chronicle of the World. (Koln, 2001) pp. 17-18.
5Incidentally, the "Sun and Moon" image on folio LXXXVIr is used to record an omen of the sun and moon doing battle in the sky that was retroactively interpreted as heralding the birth of Alexander the Great.
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