Designs by Rudolph Koch ; cut on wood by Trude von Güldenstubbe
The Arts and Crafts movement began in the mid-nineteenth century as a response to industrialism’s negative impact on design. Modern composition machines used for printing books diminished the craftsmanship of the book. This spurred a private press movement; a resurgence of hand-produced and beautifully designed books produced at small presses around England. Rudolf Koch was at the center of the Arts and Crafts movement in Germany. He is described as “a devout Christion who saw the Gothic style as a supreme manifestation of religious spirit.” Koch taught at the Arts and Crafts School in Offenbach Germany, and was a leading typographic designer of the age.
Here the artist relies purely on symbols to depict the scene of the Last Supper. This illustration is quite lovely in its simplicity. At the center of the scene are the symbols of the Holy Eucharist, the bread and the chalice of wine. At the head of the table is a large cross, meant to depict Christ. Around the table are eleven smaller crosses representing the faithful apostles; Judas is represented by the symbol of a snake.
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