Toggle mobile menu

What is a woodcut?

A woodcut is a print made by cutting an image into a board. (Technically, a “woodcut” is a print made by cutting the image into the face of the board and is different from a “wood engraving“, in which the image is cut into the endgrain of the wood, though often people refer to all prints made by cutting into wood as a “woodcut”.) Woodcut is one of the earliest forms of print-making, used in China as early as the Fifth Century CE. Albrecht Dürer was one of the most famous printmakers who used woodcut, working at at a time that is often thought of as the pinnacle of woodcut work.

Traditionally, woodcut was made using fine-grain woods, which allowed the artist the freedom to guide the cutting. In the Twentieth Century, artists like Edvard Munch and Paul Gauguin began experimenting, using coarse-grained woods and softwoods (with prominent wide-spaced grains that would guide the cutting tool).

Leonard Baskin is one of the greatest of the modern woodcut artists, creating works of enormous expressiveness.

Categories: Printmaking Terms, Types of Prints