Here is a Game of "Prints"

Ok, let's play a game.

I will post a number of prints here, one by one, and people can post their interpretations of them.

Once a few comments have been posted, I will post relevant portions of the commentary from the book: Fifteenth Century Woodcuts & Metalcuts from the National Gallery of Art.

Then I will post the next image for comment.
And so on...

Please explain what you see.
Please do not add any additional images, unless they directly support a specific point you are making.
Please do not look at the book, or try to google for other people's scholarly interpretations of these specific images.
There will be approximately 13 rounds.
No points will be scored.
The game ends when I say so.
These are the rules.
I am not a cannibal.

Re: Here is a Game of "Prints"

Hi OnePotato,

Sounds like fun! Do I understand that this is a game in which we are to use our creative imagination and come up with a narrative to explain what is happening in the picture?

If this is true, instead of posting our narratives, is there some way that they can be kept undercover by Robert until everyone has had a chance to participate, and then Robert can reveal them on a particular date set in advance? That way each person will be coming up with an original idea and not be influenced by what he/she has read from others.

Re: Here is a Game of "Prints"

Hi OnePotato,

The first thing I see is the similarity between this image and Albert Dürer’s Knight, Death, and the Devil.

What comes to mind is something I always think when I see La Lune card in the Tarot de Marseille: in these times, roads were extremely dangerous. Specially at night. Thieves, wild dogs and all kind of danger awaited. You really didn’t want to be outdoors at night! (The whole story/legend of Grigio, Don Bosco’s dog, evolved from there).

Beautiful image!

Thanks for posting it,

What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Here is a Game of "Prints"

Marcei wrote:....Sounds like fun! Do I understand that this is a game in which we are to use our creative imagination and come up with a narrative to explain what is happening in the picture?....
I was looking for an interpretation based upon your best guesses/ideas of what the artist was intending to communicate to viewers of his work. Creative writing might be interesting, but maybe for a different game.

(Along the lines of what happens in the specific deck/card detail discussions that Robert posts. But with non-tarot pictures from a similar time.)
I am not a cannibal.

Re: Here is a Game of "Prints"

I'll give it a try.

In the foreground, the man on horseback with long, serpentine feathers in his hat has just come through that archway....I cannot tell if he is entering the walled city or if he's just exited the walls (edit to clarify: Due to the weird perspective of the image, I can't actually tell whether this is meant to be seen as within the walls or if it is meant to be just outside the walls)...but, he is being approached by a cloven hoofed being who is carrying in his arms a bag full of dice and possibly other bateleurish paraphernalia (is that a curved dagger like thing on his belt?).

In the background it looks like a man is being beaten with a stick, and behind that it gets swirly and looks like some kind of flood or watery event taking place around this walled city, and it is pouring over the walls into the scene in the background. There seems to be something pouring over the wall, I cannot really tell for sure what it is meant to be, though it does look like some waves are depicted in the area in front of that tower that is on the right side of the image.
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: Here is a Game of "Prints"

The feathers on the horseman are so snake-like that I wonder if the similarity is intentional. Given the fine detail (you can see the nails in the horse's hooves!), I wonder about the funky vertical lines below the horse's hindquarters (a mistake in the woodcut?).
what are these funky vertical lines.jpg
What are the funky vertical lines under the horse's belly? I wonder if the artist rethought his composition partway through the woodcut.
what are these funky vertical lines.jpg (41.85 KiB) Viewed 6677 times
Looks to me like the Foolish one is holding a snake. If this is a fool figure with cloven hooves and a bag of gaming cubes or "tricks," does it mean the Devil presents himself as a Fool, Magic Trickster or Gambler, perhaps warning against illusions, or the temptation to take foolish risks?

And is that a scroll on the ground under the fellow who's being beaten, of the sort that normally has an inscription on it?
Scroll and snake.jpg
Scroll and snake.jpg (37.98 KiB) Viewed 6677 times

Re: Here is a Game of "Prints"

My immediate thought is of an anti-gambling diatribe - tempted to gamble (folly like devil with dice) - leads to loss and strife (men fighting) and possibly murder (thus the axeman - we go from gambling to the executioner?) - to rejection of God and to blaspheme (domed turrets at top, symbolix of the east - of the heathen mohammets - or perhaps that this is a game of the heathen mohammets and a shame to Christendom that it allows it into its realm - linked with the devil - the invention of those who want to destroy christendom). There appears to be a definite distinction between the left and right sides - on the right, where the horseman appears to be heading, is the devil and the eastern domes -

Something along the lines of the diabolical liturgy we find in the anti-gaming Steele sermon, in which dice, cards and triumphs are inventions of the devil to lead men to damnation:

"Truly, no kind of sinner is as desperate as the player. When he is losing and does not have the point, card, or the triumph he desires, he strikes the cross in the money, blaspheming God and the saints, throws down the dice in rage saying to himself that “my hand is cut off”. He gets angry easily with associates who laugh and immediately the indignity rises until they end up fighting. Oh! Imagine the player, because to begin his conduct, you will end badly."
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests