Suzanne Karr Schmidt is the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago. She curated Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life, wrote the accompanying catalogue, and enjoys playing with all early prints, wherever they’re hiding.

English Prints: Looking Over the Overlooked

Fig. 5. Anonymous, Converte Angliam (c. 1685), etching and engraving. British Museum, London, ©Trustees of the British Museum.

Visual culture has never figured prominently in accounts of Early Modern England. Indeed, few historians have fully explored the possibility that printed images might have helped to inspire Shakespeare or Ben Johnson. Thus Malcolm Jones’ massive new book marks an important foray into the overlooked early history of the print in England. Read More

Printed Bodies and the Materiality of Early Modern Prints

Figs 1, 2, 3. Lucas Kilian, Catoptri Microcosmici (Visio Prima, Visio Secunda, Visio Tertia) (1613), three anatomy broadsides composed of engraving and etching on ivory laid paper, discolored to cream, cut and joined with paper components, laid down on letterpress printed ivory laid paper, and mounted on cream wove paper. The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Dr. Ira Frank, 1944.461, 1944.462 and 1944.521.

In 1613, the Augsburg engraver Lucas Kilian produced a set of three broadsheets of human anatomy that are some of the most intricate early examples of interactive prints extant. Composed of several layers of engraving, letterpress and etching that were cut, stacked, and glued together as liftable flaps, these prints allowed the viewer to dissect male and female corpses as a didactic exercise. Read More