Prints for the people

03-11-05_image-1_thumb.jpgThere’s Peter Paul Rubens’s Supper at Emmaus and Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Last Judgment. Not the originals, mind you, but prints of the iconic works. Don’t be disappointed. Prints have their own artistic value, argues the current Smart Museum exhibition, Paper Museums: The Reproductive Print in Europe, 1500–1800.

Including prints by Pieter van Sompel after Rubens and Giulio di Antonio Bonasone after Buonarroti, the exhibit of about 100 paper images explores the role reproductive art played in Renaissance and Baroque Europe. Imitating works by others, the prints not only helped to promote those artists but also gave the public access to paintings, sculptures, and other pieces once available only to wealthy travelers or collectors. The copies, suggest curators Rebecca Zorach, AM’94, PhD’99, assistant professor of art history, Johns Hopkins’s Elizabeth Rodini, PhD’95, and the Smart’s Anne Leonard, constitute art in their own right.

The exhibition runs through May 15 and then travels to New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, where it opens in September.

By M.L.


Left: Pieter van Sompel after Peter Paul Rubens, Supper at Emmaus, 1643, Etching. Right: Willem van Swanenburg after Peter Paul Rubens, Supper at Emmaus, 1611, Engraving. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago. Purchases, Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions.

March 11, 2005