John Baptist Jackson

Jacob Kainen

John Baptist Jackson, by Jacob Kainen

The Project Gutenberg EBook of John Baptist Jackson, by Jacob Kainen This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: John Baptist Jackson 18th-Century Master of the Color Woodcut
Author: Jacob Kainen
Release Date: August 7, 2007 [EBook #22263]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Louise Hope, Chris Curnow, Joseph Cooper and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

[Transcriber's Note:
This text is intended for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (unicode/utf-8) version of the file. Accents on non-English names have generally been omitted; German umlauts are given in two-letter form as "oe", "ue". Fractions have been expanded: 9-3/4 x 6-1/2.
Details about the "Inscriptions" in the "Prints by Jackson" section of catalog are given at the beginning of that section.]

[Illustration: Smithsonian symbol]

United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1962
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington 25, D.C.

John Baptist Jackson:
18th-Century Master of the Color Woodcut

Jacob Kainen
Curator of Graphic Arts Museum of History and Technology

Publications of the United States National Museum
The scholarly publications of the United States National Museum include two series, Proceedings of the United States National Museum and United States National Museum Bulletin.
In these series are published original articles and monographs dealing with the collections and work of the Museum and setting forth newly acquired facts in the fields of Anthropology, Biology, History, Geology, and Technology. Copies of each publication are distributed to libraries and scientific organizations and to specialists and others interested in the different subjects.
The Proceedings, begun in 1878, are intended for the publication in separate form, of shorter papers. These are gathered in volumes, octavo in size, with the publication date of each paper recorded in the table of contents of the volume.
In the Bulletin series, the first of which was issued in 1875, appear longer, separate publications consisting of monographs (occasionally in several parts) and volumes in which are collected works on related subjects. Bulletins are either octavo or quarto in size, depending on the needs of the presentation. Since 1902 papers relating to the botanical collections of the Museum have been published in the Bulletin series under the heading Contributions from the United States National Herbarium.
This work forms number 222 of the Bulletin series.
Director, United States National Museum

Preface IX Jackson and his Tradition 3 The Woodcut Tradition 4 Status of the Woodcut 7 The Chiaroscuro Tradition 9 Jackson and his Work 13 England: Obscure Beginnings 14 Paris: Perfection of a Craft 17 Venice: The Heroic Effort 25 England Again: The Wallpaper Venture 40 Critical Opinion 51 Postscript 54 Catalog 69 Prints by Jackson 71 Jackson's Workshop 90 Unverified Subjects 95 The Chiaroscuros and Color Woodcuts 97 Bibliography 171 Index to Plates 177 Index 181

John Baptist Jackson has received little recognition as an artist. This is not surprising if we remember that originality in a woodcutter was not considered a virtue until quite recently. We can now see that he was more important than earlier critics had realized. He was the most adventurous and ambitious of earlier woodcutters and a trailblazer in turning his art resolutely in the direction of polychrome.
To 19th century writers on art, from whom we have inherited the bulk of standard catalogs, lexicons, and histories-- along with their judgments-- Jackson's work seemed less a break with tradition than a corruption of it. His chiaroscuro woodcuts (prints from a succession of woodblocks composing a single subject in monochrome light and shade) were invariably compared with those of the 16th century Italians and were usually found wanting. The exasperated tone of many critics may have been the result of an uneasy feeling that he was being judged by the wrong standards. The purpose of this monograph, aside from providing the first full-length study of Jackson and his prints, is to examine these standards. The traditions of the woodcut and the color print will therefore receive more attention than might be expected, but I feel that such treatment is essential if we are to appreciate Jackson's contribution, in which technical innovation is a major element.
Short accounts of Jackson have appeared in almost all standard dictionaries of painters and engravers and in numerous historical surveys, but these have been based upon meager evidence. A fraction of his work was usually known and details of his life were, and still are, sparse. Later writers interpreting the comments of their predecessors have repeated as fact much that was conjecture. The picture of Jackson that has come down to us, therefore, is unclear and fragmentary.
If he does not
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 40
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.