Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery P6
Renaissance prints were important means to distribute religious teachings and imagery. While some artists working in these media were trained as painters, others brought the precision of goldsmithing to the art of engraving.
In this rotation of our the Museum’s collection, masterful prints display Renaissance interest in a wide range of biblical stories. Highlights include prints from the first printed book to combine images with text as well as 40 miniature woodcuts illustrating the story of redemption from Adam and Eve to the Last Judgment.
The depiction of the Creation of Adam (above) is from the Nuremberg Chronicle and grounds a spiritual event in naturalistic landscape that includes animals of the forest and distant vistas. In this woodcut, God, whose draperies billow out in an angular manner recalling German Gothic art, creates man in His image from a lump of earth. A richly woven textile with dynamic floral patterns shows that many of the same motifs of contemporary prints also appeared in religious vestments.
Image: Michael Wolgemut, German (1434–1519). Anton Koberger, printer, German (ca. 1445–1513). The Creation of Adam, 1493. Hand-colored woodcut. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 33-1030