Over the summer, my fiance and I took a trip to Main Strasse while the vendors were out for the World's Longest Yardsale. It was there that I found an old, but beautiful, print of The Canterbury Tales (dating back to 1934)! I was most delighted to find this book because of it's gorgeous illustrations by Rockwell Kent. They look like woodblock prints to me.
Aren't these breathtaking?!?! The line work alone is enough captivate me. I love the minimal use of color in these illustrations and Rockwell's remarkable ability to achieve such emotion with each figure. You can look at each one of their faces and almost tell what they are thinking. Even the posture of each figure says something. I can imagine what each one of these characters are like just by glancing at them.
I read that "Rockwell Kent was a free spirited artist and a reverent worshipper of the wilderness." See article here. I believe this part of him really shines through to these prints. I feel like each figure has a special relationship with the landscape in which they are standing. Take a look at the 9th print down (taken from the The Prioress's Tale)-the one where the female figure has her hands clasped together and her eyes are closed-the nun. If you look at the bottom of her robe, the way it rests upon the Earth, the folds resemble mountains. Although I have not yet read the story, nor do I know what it is about, I feel like perhaps these mountain forms are representative/symbolic of obstacles that she, or someone close to her, must face. The expression on her face (even though it looks like she praying here) holds a certain sense of sadness. I could be completely off topic here...I guess I will just have to read the story to find out!
These smaller prints were found in the beginning of almost every tale. My favorite is the very last one!