Nôtre Dame des Sept Douleurs [The Virgin of Sorrows]
late 18 century
50.3 cm x 40.8 cm (19 13/16 in. x 16 1/16 in.)
Attributed to Guillaume Allabre
Medium and Support:
Woodcut with hand-coloring
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1997
The oldest and most enduring kind of printmaking was associated with pilgrimage sites and offered visitors inexpensive devotional images as souvenirs. Distinctive to Chartres, one of the major destinations in France, in the late 18th century was a school of woodcut that combined the simple design and bold cutting of popular prints with the large scale and elaborate flourish of loftier genres. In this combination, and the generation of new aesthetic meaning out of formal and sociological transgression, these prints also prefigure an important pursuit of the Romantics and the later avant garde. They are, however, very rare and largely unrecognized. This is an especially fine and well preserved example.