Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe

Edited by Susan Dackerman; With essays by Susan Dackerman, Lorraine Daston, Katharine Park, Suzanne Karr Schmidt, and Claudia Swan


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Out of Print

An unusual collaboration among distinguished art historians and historians of science, this book demonstrates how printmakers of the Northern Renaissance, far from merely illustrating the ideas of others, contributed to scientific investigations of their time. Hans Holbein, for instance, worked with cosmographers and instrument makers on some of the earliest sundial manuals published; Albrecht Dürer produced the first printed maps of the constellations, which astronomers copied for over a century; and Hendrick Goltzius's depiction of the muscle-bound Hercules served as a study aid for students of anatomy. 

Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe features fascinating reproductions of woodcuts, engravings, and etchings; maps, globe gores, and globes; multilayered anatomical "flap" prints; and paper scientific instruments used for observation and measurement. Among the "do-it-yourself" paper instruments were sundials and astrolabes, and the book incorporates a facsimile of globe gores for the reader to cut out and assemble.

Susan Dackerman is Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Curator of Prints, Harvard Art Museums.


Harvard Art Museums

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

“[A] comprehensive book . . . Filled with woodcuts, engravings, etchings, globe gores, maps, 'flap' prints, and more, it is quite a resource for serious print collectors.”—Rebecca Rego Barry, Fine Books and Collections

"Excellently researched . . . an important resource."—A. Golahny, Choice

 Winner of the 2012 International Fine Print Dealers Association Book Award

 Winner of the 2012 Roland H. Bainton Prize in the Art History category, given by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference
ISBN: 9780300171075
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publishing Partner: Distributed for Harvard Art Museums
442 pages, 9 1/2 x 12 1/2
297 color illus.
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