Colorized flat-earth woodcut, main page logo

The flat-earth woodcut as visual rhetoric


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Kerry Magruder


Adaptations of the woodcut illustrate its remarkable durability and versatility

Copyright notice: These images are reproduced here solely for the purpose of documenting the remarkable durability and versatility of the woodcut as visual rhetoric. Do not reproduce these images for noneducational use without explicit permission from the copyright holders. Links and attributions to the originators are provided as fully as possible. Let me know if you hold the copyrights to any of these images and I will provide improved attribution (or take them down, if requested).

This strikingly beautiful version was colorized for a poster by Roberta Weir, 1970. Used with permission.

Robert Weir colorized 1970

The Department of Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota advertised their molecular biology programs with the illustration. Note how they adapted the extra-cosmic portion of the woodcut to resemble the organelles and cytoplasm of the cell.

Minnesota Department of Biochemistry adaptation

StarDate magazine (affiliated with the McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas) featured a colorized version of the woodcut on the cover of their January/February 1996 issue, accompanied by the comment that "our 1996 Sky Almanac can lead to a full year of colorful astronomical discoveries." They describe the illustration as a "medieval woodcut colored by Tim Jones."

StarDate 1996 cover, colorized

Suzanne Rich changed the extra-cosmic portion of the woodcut into an image of a computer-world to accompany an article on astronomical computing in the April 1996 issue of Sky and Telescope (p. 82).

Sky and Telescope 1996 adaptation

Adam McLean sells his beautifully colorized version of the woodcut on his website, Alchemy Art. Used with permission.

Adam McLean colorized version

This half-colorized version was created by Robert J. Nemiroff (Michigan Tech) for NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website to mark January 1st, 2000, as the onset of the millennial year, "The Millennium that Defines Universe" Used with permission.

Nemiroff NASA APOD colorized version

A cartoonist takes for granted readers' familiarity with the woodcut, adapting it to portray the unprecedented US economic expansion in early 2000: "The Economics textbooks don't cover where we are now." "Not that they ever did." Tales, Universal Press Syndicate, The Buffalo News

Economics cartoon adaptation Buffalo News 2000

Recording artist Jimmie Spheeris used the woodcut as envelope art in this letter to Andy Markley, postmarked California, June 29, 1976. Used with permission.

Jimmie Spheeris envelope print

Discover Magazine, April 2001, page 16.

Discover magazine April 2001

Reinhard Selten and Gerd Gigerenzer, Bounded Rationality: The Adaptive Toolbox (MIT Press, March 2001)

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  • Kerry Magruder, page last revised: 7/28/2003
    • Copyright 1996-2003. These pages may be reproduced for educational purposes only, provided that the complete website is provided without abridgement, along with the URL ( Please notify me of any use of the page or its content. Thank you!