Image

Phillip Medhurst presents drawings of Christ by Heinrich Hofmann colourised 05 raising the son of the widow of Nain

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

05  Heinrich Hofmann. Jüngling zu Nain. Kommet zu Mir – Bild 7. Original drawing in pencil. Luke 7:11-17.

Chromolithograph based on re-drawn image derived from the photogravure of the pencil drawing. Possibly by Stemler.
This re-draft of Hofmann’s image well illustrates the tendency of the colourisers to simplify the scene and concentrate on the inter-action between the core characters. This was partly to reduce the labour in redrafting, and partly to provide broader areas for colour. Here six members of the arrested funeral procession have been eliminated: one figure is deemed adequate to suggest the awe of any witness to the miracle. By way of compensation the glimpse of a landscape of Nain in the background of the drawing has been developed into a vista of a walled town (fortifications only suggested in close-up by Hofmann through arches with heavy masonry). In the drawing the boy’s erstwhile status as a corpse is suggested by the cowl which had presumably covered his face. The colouriser may have felt that this item was too suggestive of female attire; it has been removed in his re-draft to reveal the boy’s hair – short as dictated by modern convention. Instead, the presence of a white pall is indicated by the different colour of the boy’s robe. Thus the colouriser has remained true to the artist’s original intent.

Image

Phillip Medhurst presents drawings of Christ by Heinrich Hofmann colourised 04 Jesus and the woman of Samaria

Tags

, , , , , ,

04  Heinrich Hofmann. Die barmherzige Samariterin. Kommet zu Mir – Bild 5. Original drawing in pencil. John 4:5-7,9-14,19-24.

Photogravure made from the original pencil drawing.

Chromolithograph based on re-drawn image derived from the photogravure of the pencil drawing. Possibly by Stemler.
Sometimes the dimensions of the colourisation had to be altered to fit the available space in a publication. Generally, the tendency was towards simplification of the image by eliminating details on the periphery of the core subject-matter. This facilitated broader areas of colour. Here, the scene needed to be expanded width-ways; but the elements added made few demands on the skill and imagination of the re-drafter. The integrity of the core image remains intact.

Image

Phillip Medhurst presents drawings of Christ by Heinrich Hofmann colourised 03 the temptation of Jesus

Tags

, , , , ,

03  Heinrich Hofmann. Weiche von mir, Satan! Kommet zu Mir – Bild 4. Original drawing in pencil. Luke 4:1-13.

Photogravure made from the original pencil drawing.

Chromolithograph based on re-drawn image derived from the photogravure of the pencil drawing by Byron De Bolt.
Sometimes, a detail was too small or the gradations in tone too subtle to be rendered in colour. In Byron De Bolt’s interpretation of the original image the tiny angel in the top right-hand corner has been eliminated and the tones of the mountains and clouds have been replaced with a dramatic (if somewhat stylised) sky rent by lightning – crude but effective alongside Hofmann’s unsubtly emblematic characterisation of Satan. De Bolt has taken the opportunity to highlight the Son of God, not with the lightly-drawn Renaissance-style elliptical halo of Hofmann, but with an illuminated cloud – pure white in contrast to the black of the crushed serpent foretold in the proto-evangelium of Genesis. The apparent crudity of the colourised image in fact belies a seriousness of intent in the re-interpretation in keeping with the devoutness of the prospective consumer.

Image

Phillip Medhurst presents drawings of Christ by Heinrich Hofmann colourised 02 Jesus among the doctors

Tags

, , , , , ,


02  Heinrich Hofmann. Im Tempel. Gedenke Mein – Bild 3. Original drawing in pencil. Luke 2:46-50.

Chromolithograph based on re-drawn image derived from the photogravure of the pencil drawing. Possibly by Stemler.
Stemler(?)’s colourisation: the crudity of the image to our contemporary eye is accounted-for by the fact that, to keep costs down, colour had to be used in more than one place in the image. Here I can count 7 colours, which means that, together with the pointing in black, at least 8 plates had to be prepared and applied in turn to the paper: costly in time, man-power and materiel. The motivation of the colourisers, apart from financial gain, was a vocation to introduce (European) “fine art” to a mass audience in the New World, where art was only just becoming a priority. Hofmann’s pencil drawings made it possible for the publishers to choose colours at their own convenience while being able to invoke the authority of a master.

Image

Phillip Medhurst presents drawings of Christ by Heinrich Hofmann colourised 01 the adoration of the magi

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Heinrich Hofmann 01. Die drei Weisen aus dem Morgenlande. Kommet zu Mir – Bild 2. Pencil drawing. Matthew 2:1-12

Photogravure 01 The adoration of the magi.

Chromolithograph 01a The adoration of the magi.

Chromolithograph 01b The adoration of the magi.

Chromolithograph 01c The adoration of the magi.

Heinrich (Johann Michael Ferdinand) Hofmann (1824 – 1911): German painter and illustrator. His most famous works are in the Riverside Church in New York: “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler”, Christ in Gethsemane”, “Christ in the Temple” and “Picture of Christ”. Probably with newly-developed printing processes in mind, Hoffmann created three portfolios of pencil drawings depicting the life of Christ. As published by heliogravure, their names in English are: “Come Unto Me”, “Remember Me”, and “Peace Unto You”; in German: “Gedenke mein: Ein Weihgeschenk für christliche Familien. 12 Zeichnungen aus dem Leben des Heilandes” 1886/“Kommet zu mir! Bilder aus dem Leben des Heilandes; Festgabe für Christliche Familien” 1887/“Friede sei mit Euch: Bilder aus dem Leben des Heilands” 1898. They were widely distributed in Europe and America.

Otto Adolph Stemler (1872-1953): American illustrator. When chromolithography was invented in the late 1800’s, American artists began to convert popular illustrations into colour. Stemler converted most of the Hofmann monochrome lithographs. He also converted the works of other famous illustrators such as Doré, Bida, Plockhorst and Bouguereau, as well as creating his own Bible illustrations while working for the Standard Publishing Company. Little is known about Stemler in his early career. Later in life he worked for Standard Publishing full-time, but he may have done freelance work before that because his images show up in the publications of Providence Litho, Messenger Corporation et alia. Apparently Stemler published religious art almost exclusively.