With the invention of movable type (the Gutenberg press) in the fifteenth century and the rise of artistic woodcuts, engravings, and etchings in the sixteenth century, European culture changed profoundly. No longer subject to the contingencies of individual production, books and pictures were shared in more or less uniform manner. The Protestant Reformation might not have happened were it not for printed matter; and artists from Raphael to Rembrandt depended on prints to make their work known. This seminar will study a series of charged moments in the production and consumption of printed matter attending to the aesthetic, material, and epistemological significance of works dated between 1480 and 1650. We will focus on the printed works of artists Lucas van Leyden, Albrecht Dürer, Marcantonio Raimondi, Hercules Segers, and Rembrandt as well as the role of printed images in the sciences. A variety of media and techniques-from early stipple engravings to chiaroscuro woodcuts and from Naturselbstdruck (nature printing) to sugar-lift-populate the course, as do theories of impression and the role of prints in transcultural, early modern global encounters.
Students in this seminar will be involved in research towards an exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum co-curated by Dr. Swan and Dr. Elizabeth Wyckoff, Curator at SLAM. Class meetings will take place in the Study Room at the museum, where students will have ongoing access to works in the collection and discussions with museum professionals. The class will also enjoy the opportunity to travel to Chicago for class-related activities during the semester.
Prerequisites: Two 300-level art history course or permission of the instructor
Course Attributes: FA AH; AS HUM; FA HUM