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STORK AND THE 9 OF BEASTS


 
 
The series Stork and the 9 of Beasts is about the interplay of letters and illuminations, which gave rise to the Black School of printmaking.

Back in the days copparplate engravings were normally done by goldsmiths. The first engraver, who gave the practise of printmaking an artistic expression, was The Master of the Playing Cards, active in Germany from the 1430s to the 1450s. He remains known through a set of 60 playing cards in five suits: flowers, birds, deer, beasts and wild men, from which he takes his name.

The cards are not made primarily to play with but more like an allegorical picture book. Some of the cards are composed of movable components, where each animal is printed from a separate little copperplate, several of which are reused on other cards

Possibly the Master and Johannes Gutenberg met in Mainz, where Gutenberg worked with movable types, a system of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document. Around 1450 Gutenberg made a mechanical metal movable-type printing press in Europe, with which he printed The Gutenberg Bible in 1456.

Card illustrations done by the Master of the Playing Cards like a climbing bear at card number nine from the suit of beasts and a stork eating a snake have been reused as illuminations in the Gutenberg Bible as well.
 
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