Several useful and highly adaptable printmaking and printing methods emerged during the early modern period, ca. 1450-1750, including moveable type, woodcut, engraving, etching, and drypoint. Beyond their technological developments, prints also reflected and responded to significant artistic, cultural, social, spiritual, and political matters of their time. This exhibition challenges us to rethink the definitions of both "Renaissance" and "print" by presenting works that demonstrate the tremendous variability of the subjects and purposes of early modern prints. These works represent the remarkable potential for multiplied images to disseminate different types of knowledge to audiences on both a local and global scale.
The selections of artworks for this exhibition are the result of hours of deliberation and discussion. The student curators had to choose from almost two hundred prints in the Museum’s collection. To view a complete list of all the prints from ca. 1450 to 1750 in the Museum, visit our online collections portal at maacollections.missouri.edu. Click on the tab Popular/Special Searches, and then select from the drop-down menu the list All Renaissance Prints (ca. 1450-1750). Here is a shortlist of the curators’ first round of selections, with the works in the exhibition clearly outlined. Consider which works didn’t make the cut and the tough choices the students had to make.
For helpful guides about Renaissance printmaking techniques, view these pages presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
This bibliography includes readings from Alisa McCusker’s course, The Renaissance Print, in Fall 2019.