Art Technique

The Art of Xylography – WoodCutting

The technique of Woodcutting arose from the aim of ​​reproducing an artistic work to make it more accessible to a broader audience. Xylography or woodcutting is one of the most primitive relief printing techniques in the art of printmaking and resembles the use of stamp seal.

In the remote antiquity of Babylon, Egypt, and China we find the origins of this printing technique. Only in the 15th century, this form of reproduction arrived in Germany in the form of playing cards, in the size of a postage stamp, making Xylography one of the most widely used printing techniques of all time.

Shortly after, we find great masters of this engraving art such as Albrecht Altdorfer and Albrecht Dürer.


Both, extraordinary artists of skillful technique, create situations with figures, landscapes, scenes that transfer to the wooden cue with different instruments that produce the necessary holes to leave the surface in relief only the transposed drawing.

At the time they printed up to about 500 black color copies, typical of graphic art.

In a similar way, Gutenberg, will reproduce for the first-time biblical texts generating a cultural revolution. It is the birth of the book as an object, which will have enlightening objectives from generation to generation until today. Since then, the book and the art of the Xylography will accompany each other, one as a text and the other as an illustration.

In the 19th century, Japanese artists of great hierarchy such as Hokusai or Hiroshige gave the xylography a new impulse, indirectly influencing most of the French impressionist artists. A direct consequence of this rebirth of this art will be the great influence it had on the German Expressionist masters of the beginning of the 20th century, such as Erik Heckel, Ludwig, Kirchner, Carl Schmitt-Rottluff and others. Later the great artists of the school of Paris like Matisse or Picasso accompanied great books with their magnificent xylographic creations.

Woodcut Technique

The technique of woodcut, briefly told, is based on creating an effect of relief on a block of wood, previously polished so that, after inking, the color is transferred to a sheet of paper.

Like any graphic technique, the transfer occurs by inverting the original drawing. If the artist wishes to add a second color, he must repeat the process of drawing and transferring the new form to the block of wood, creating a new relief, another inking and new printing with a different color on the same previously printed paper. And so on as many times as colors want to be used.

1 Color Woodcut in Progress

In the traditional technique the printing is manual, hindering the production of many prints.

Key to The Horizon Series

Woodcutting favors the deployment of structures and variations giving each piece of the series the character of an original. After printing, the paper will have a slight relief effect as a result of the pressure being printed and the back of the sheet will show a shine due to the friction of the instrument. That distinguishes and differentiates this technique.

Multicolor Woodcutting in Progress

My last work in Xylography is called Key to the Horizon. This series consists of 60 original pieces with six serialized colors from 1-60.

The Key to The Horizon – Cristian Korn

Key to the Horizon was inspired as an accompaniment, similar to Picasso, to my new book titled Paintings. The Book has in its first pages an area to write down the number of the series accompanying the book. I hope Key to the Horizon will be more doors of the hearts of art lovers. I hope the work is to your liking.

Cristian Korn


*Altdorfer-Christ-angels-trumpets-1513 –