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In Dialogue: Medial Thinking in Bolognese Prints, 1500-1530

Ariella Minden

The Spine, Isagoge Breves, Jacopo Berengario da Carpi, 1523, London, Wellcome Collection Trust, 64

My dissertation examines Bologna as an innovative centre of printmaking at a critical period in the media’s development between 1500 and 1530. These thirty years were a dynamic moment when woodcuts, engravings, and etchings in their relative infancy were being negotiated as forms of visual communication within an evolving media landscape. Through a confluence of circumstances, Bologna gave rise and played host to some of the most important practitioners of the period including Peregrino da Cesena, Marcantonio Raimondi, Parmigianino, and Ugo da Carpi, alongside anonymous woodcutters revolutionizing medical illustration. My work considers how a set of paper objects reliant upon new technologies thematize and are communicative on ideas of virtuosity, novelty, failure, expertise, objectivity, and innovation. In doing so, I demonstrate how both artists and some of their most prominent patrons reflected on the potentials of these new media and their relations to and distinctiveness from existing media, even working towards creating origin stories to reflect on certain genealogies. In this approach to printmaking, I re-evaluate watershed moments in the early history of the print and offer a new assessment of one of the most significant technological innovations of the fifteenth century.

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