Printing images in Antwerp, the introduction of printmaking in a city: fifteenth century to 1585
This book discusses the production and consumption of printed images in an urban environment in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, up to 1585. The story begins in the fifteenth century.
At some point - no one knows exactly when - prints were suddenly being offered for sale in Antwerp. Initially they may have been brought from other cities by merchants and travellers, but at length the first printmaker established himself in the city. In the sixteenth century Antwerp fast developed into one of the main centres of printmaking in the western world.
The author explores the complex way in which the printed image secured a place for itself in the urban fabric. He reconstructs the different traditions from which the print producers evolved, and explains how existing institutions in the city related to the new medium. He traces the way in which the traditional guilds tried to bring practitioners of this 'singular skill', as it was labelled in 1452, into their ranks, and shows how the government tried to gain control of the new medium. He discusses the interplay between printmakers seeking strategies to market their wares, and a public confronted with an interesting array of cheap new products.The reader is given an impression of the variety of prints produced, which have thus far received little attention in art history. Archival research has generated a good deal of detailed new information on the prices of prints, the numbers of impressions made, the costs of printing and colouring, and so forth.
Printing Images in Antwerp is an exploration of the impact of printmaking in the sixteenth century. It contains an abundance of new information, not only for print historians but for anyone interested in cultural history.
By Jan Vander Stock
Price € 185 / $ 250