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Block Museum Announces Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe Exhibition

Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, open January 17–April 8, 2012, examines how celebrated Northern Renaissance artists contributed to the scientific discoveries of the 16th century.

The exhibition, accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, challenges the perception of artists as illustrators in the service of scientists and examines how their printmaking skills were useful to scientists in their investigations. Artists’ early printed images served as effective research tools, functioning not only as descriptive illustrations, but also as active agents in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

Taking into consideration prints, books, maps, and such scientific instruments as sundials, globes, astrolabes, and armillary spheres, the exhibition looks at relationships between their producers and their production, as well as among the objects themselves.

This exhibition was organized by the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in collaboration with the Block Museum of Art.

This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue are made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mrs. Arthur K. Solomon, Lionel and Vivian Spiro, Walter and Virgilia Klein, Julian and Hope Edison, Novartis on behalf of Dr. Steven E. Hyman, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Barbara and the late Robert Wheaton, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Image: Jan Sadeler I, after Maarten de Vos, Astronomy, from the series The Seven Liberal Arts, after 1575, engraving. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Belinda L. Randall from the collection of John Witt Randall, R4919. Photo: Department of Digital Imaging and Visual Resources, Harvard Art Museums, © 2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College.

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