Wittenberg Reliquary Book (Wittenberger Heiligthumsbuch)

A work made of woodcut engraving and letterpress on cream laid paper, in original limp brown goatskin with wrap-around fore-edge flap, decorated with a blind outer fillet frame with intersecting interior blind lines.
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  • A work made of woodcut engraving and letterpress on cream laid paper, in original limp brown goatskin with wrap-around fore-edge flap, decorated with a blind outer fillet frame with intersecting interior blind lines.

Date:

1510

Artist:

Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472-1553)
printed by Johannes Grunenberg (German, active 1508-1525)

About this artwork

Lucas Cranach produced this souvenir catalogue to promote the prized collection of relics and reliquaries of his patron, Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony. Copies were printed on paper and more luxurious vellum, although the paper printings are now scarcer. The sequence of woodcuts walks pilgrims through every stage of the yearly viewing; each relic offered a hundred days of indulgence. Pilgrims witnessing them all would have amassed an impressive 500,500 days (1,371 years) of respite from Purgatory. Yet Frederick’s protégé, the radical Martin Luther, would soon speak out against the practice of granting indulgences, and the relic collection would be shown for the last time in 1522. The pages visible here depict Mary Magdalene’s hair, nineteen particles of Saint Cecilia, and other relics.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Lucas Cranach, the Elder

Title

Wittenberg Reliquary Book (Wittenberger Heiligthumsbuch)

Origin

Germany

Date

1510

Medium

Woodcut engraving and letterpress on cream laid paper, in original limp brown goatskin with wrap-around fore-edge flap, decorated with a blind outer fillet frame with intersecting interior blind lines

Dimensions

193 x 140 mm (folio)

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1948.111

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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