Information from the museum, 23 November 2010
Prints and the pursuit of knowledge in Early Modern Europe examines the participation of artists in the scientific inquiries of the sixteenth century. By investigating the close working relationships between the artistic and scientific communities, it attempts to break down the artificial boundaries of interpretation between the work of artists, natural philosophers, natural historians, cosmographers, medical practitioners, and instrument makers, and offers instead a vision of correlated, and sometimes collaborative, production. Through displays of prints, books, maps, and such scientific instruments as sundials, globes, astrolabes, and armillary spheres, the exhibition questions the perception of artists as illustrators in the service of scientific practitioners. It proposes instead a more integral role for them in facilitating the conceptualization of ideas, especially through printmaking during the century and a half after its development in northern Europe. At the project’s core is an exploration of the characteristics of printmaking that make it such a dynamic matrix for the production of knowledge. On view at the Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum from September 6 to December 10, 2011, and at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, from January 17 to April 8, 2012.
Curated by Susan Dackerman, Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Curator of Prints, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums.
Organized by the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA, in collaboration with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. A catalogue, due out in fall 2011, accompanies this exhibition.