Woodcut was the earliest printmaking medium to be widely used, primarily for devotional religious images or playing cards,
often colored by hand or with stencils. By the end of the fifteenth century major artists began to explore the woodcut's more
sophisticated artistic potential. Albrecht Durer was one of the first and greatest artists to recognize the capacity of prints
to create a broad market for works of art. He created complex and highly finished designs in both woodcut and engraving. His
series of woodcuts of 1496-98 of scenes from the Apocalypse are large, dynamic full-sheet compositions, some freely combining
events from different chapters of the book rather than closely following the text.