CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Origins of European printmaking: 15th-century woodcuts and their public

Exhibition: 4 September - 27 November 2005

Lower Rhenish or Netherlandish, ca. 1480, <i>Calvary</i>, National Gallery of Art, Washington”><br />
<p class=Lower Rhenish or Netherlandish, ca. 1480
Calvary, National Gallery of Art, Washington


National Gallery of Art, Washington
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg


Peter Parshall, curator of Old Master prints, National Gallery of Art, Washington

From the museum website

The first mass-production of images in Europe occurred in the 15th century, making it possible for people of all stations to own a picture. This exhibition of some 140 early woodcuts, books, printed textiles, and other related objects examines the role of replicated images in late medieval culture. Most often early prints provided an inexpensive and easily available picture of a favorite saint or an event from the Passion, but they also made possible the circulation and improvement of maps, the instruction of memory, and notification of counterfeit coins. The exhibition will explore how prints were used and understood in their time, including images designed to convey a New Year’s greeting, commemorate pilgrimages, transmit the touch of a holy relic, exorcise demons, and apply for time off in purgatory. Approximately one-third of the exhibition comes from the National Gallery of Art’s outstanding collection, together with works from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, and loans from many other public and private collections throughout Europe and America.


Air transportation is provided by Lufthansa.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Other venue

Nürnberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum (14 December 2005-19 March 2006)