Evelyn Lincoln Associate Professor, History of Art & Architecture and Italian Studies; Director, Program in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies Brown University. Evelyn Lincoln’s research in Art History looks at the practical and intellectual operations of communities of readers in the early modern period to locate networks of knowledge shared among those involved in the commerce and production of printing and printmaking in early modern Europe. Her research on how images interact with the read and spoken word has extended into early notions of intellectual property, and the visual representations of authorship, gender, and truth claims. She is the author of The Invention of the Italian Renaissance Printmaker (Yale UP: 2000) and Pictures and Readers in Early Modern Rome (Yale UP, forthcoming). [November 2012]

Gospel Lessons: Arabic Printing at the Tipografia Medicea Orientale

Fig. 1. Leonardo Parasole (after Antonio Tempesta), Saint John with an Eagle from the interlinear version of the Evangelium sanctum Domini nostri Iesu Christi conscriptum a quatuor Evangelistis Sanctis, idest, Matthaeo, Marco, Luca, et Iohanne (1591), woodblock print, 10.1 x 12.6 cm. Rome: Tipografia Medicea.

In 1590 and 1591 the Tipografia Medicea Orientale (Medici Oriental Press) in Rome published its two much-advertised illustrated versions of the Gospels in Arabic. The Evangelium sanctum Domini nostri Iesu Christi conscriptum a quatuor Evangelistis Sanctis, idest, Matthaeo, Marco, Luca, et Iohanne was printed first in Arabic only, then in Arabic with corresponding Latin text between every line (Fig. 1). Sixty-seven woodblock prints of the Gospel scenes appeared in both versions of these luxurious books, illustrating the Life of Christ as told by the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Read More

Publishing, Secrecy and Curiosity in a German Conclave Print

Christoph Weigel (publisher), Der Grund-Riß des Conclave und die Beschreibung aller Solennitaeten: welche in Rom nach Absterben eines Pabstes, und beÿ der Erwehlung seines Nachfolgers vorzugehen pflegen (c. 1700-1720), engraving, 38.2 x 47.5 cm. Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library.

The point of the conclave prints that circulated at the death of a pope was to reveal what was, by definition, the secret and mysterious ritual surrounding the election of a new one. The word conclave, from the Latin cum clave, “with a key,” denoted secrecy in its very name. These carefully compartmented etchings and engravings, lined with text and crowded with images, began to appear in Rome in the 16th century. They picked up momentum with the increase in pomp that characterized papal ceremony in the following century, and the market for them was further fed by the curiosity of the many tourists who came to Rome to marvel at its antiquities, and pilgrims hungry for a glimpse of ancient rites such as these. Read More