History of the Print

south german 1480Prints and Printmakers introduces students to the history and culture of printed images. The course is organized chronologically and develops by way of geographic location. The advent of reproductive technology in the fifteenth century (printed books, woodcuts, and engravings) coincides with dramatic developments in the natural sciences, theology, and political institutions of the Western world – the images from this early modern era still hold an emblematic place in our imagination and remain concealed within current popular culture. The class will be concerned with unique images, multiples, and reproductions from the fifteenth through the eighteenth century that serve as substitutes for objects of art, topographical describers, as well as pictures that serve as paradigms of cultural ideas and illustrations for scientific discourse. We will explore the way in which nature and culture are envisioned before the popularization of photography and digital image revolution. Theoretical associations with these reproductive technologies will be brought forward to deepen our understanding of artistic practice. Anyone studying the development of human ideas over time would benefit from this course.

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