“12 Woodcuts Based on the Fifth Story of the Fourth Day of Giovanni Boccaccio’s 'The Decameron'”
My Core Reflection is a book of 12 woodcuts, printed and bound in the Leroy Neiman Center for Print Studies in Dodge Hall. The prints borrow imagery from the work of German Expressionist artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, and Karl Schmidt-Rotluff to illustrate the tragic tale of Lisabetta and Lorenzo (IV, 5) as related in Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron. The graphic simplicity of Expressionist art is well suited for the interpretation of such a story because of its expression of emotion not only in the subject matter, but in the mark itself. In the story, Lisabetta cries into a pot of herbs containing the head of her deceased lover, Lorenzo, who was murdered by her three brothers. The uses of pattern and line in early 20th century German art provide possibilities for representing the range of moods that the story encompasses, from the bliss of passion to sorrow and grief. While the scenario that the story describes is not universal, the sadness that it describes is. That is why the story remained with me after I first read it in Lit Hum, and why I felt that it would be challenging to interpret creatively. The bookboard is wrapped in green bookcloth and wood veneer to represent the botanical theme of the story.
The book is available for check-out at Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library. See the catalogue information.