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Theresa Smith -Extravagance and Economy: Sixteenth-Century Anatomical Prints with Moveable Flaps

Date: 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Location: 

Science Center 469

Competing cultures of extravagance and economy that guided Renaissance printers are embodied in the materials of broadside flap anatomies. The earliest such prints were designed and printed in 1538 by Heinrich Vogtherr. These large woodcuts illustrated human anatomy by allowing the user to lift superimposed paper flaps to see inside the female body. Often brightly hand colored, these novel interactive prints could be marketed to both literate and illiterate viewers familiar with learning through a combination of metaphor and image. Comparing these early prints with later ones printed in 1544 by Jakob Frölich utilizing the same woodblocks reveals the transmission of an elaborate production model requiring up to 24 blocks and multiple sheets of paper for each anatomical print. Despite this apparent extravagance, the reuse of woodblocks and the careful piecing together of paper demonstrate that the economies of the small print shop were also enacted in these elaborate prints