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Prints and People: A Social History of Printed Pictures

Prints and People: A Social History of Printed Pictures

Mayor, A. Hyatt
496 pages
752 illustrations
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Why were prints made? Who bought them? How did print publishers attract new publics? What printmakers discovered new ways of seeing? In this book such questions and some of their answers begin almost with the invention of paper in China and extend across time and the world to a consideration of the possibilities in printmaking today, this side of expressionism and abstraction. Besides evaluating more than 700 prints as works of art, A. Hyatt Mayor's far from conventional account of the medium points out precise effects of prints on literacy, commerce, science, fashions, religion, and political power—in short, it deals with prints' effects upon people, placing the art itself in the stream of life. In this it differs from earlier histories that concentrate on artistic merit and bibliographic data but seem little aware of the significance of the exactly repeated image as a communications device.

In the wealth of illustrations, a number the author has chosen, the creations of obscure artists, are bound to astonish, no matter how wide the readers familiarity with prints may be. This is because the book is concerned above all with the work of innovators, not later refinings of their innovations by more celebrated hands.

Replete with information so precisely, even wittily, put that it will delight anyone, Prints and People is offered as the writing down of a professional lifetime of thought and experience—the author, now Curator Emeritus, having joined the Metropolitan Museums Department of Prints in 1932.

Fasciculo di medicina, Johannes de Ketham  German, Woodcut
Multiple artists/makers
February 5, 1493 [modern style, 1494]
The Rhinoceros, Albrecht Dürer  German, Woodcut
A Concert, Louis Licherie de Beurie  French, Black chalk, heightened with white, on brown paper. Contours incised for transfer.
ca. 1679
Death of the Virgin, Martin Schongauer  German, Engraving; second state
The Annunciation: The  Angel Gabriel, Martin Schongauer  German, Engraving
ca. 1470–80
Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons, Martin Schongauer  German, Engraving; second state
Battle of the Nude Men, Antonio Pollaiuolo  Italian, Engraving
ca. 1470–90
The Virgin Appearing to Saint John, from "The Apocalypse", Albrecht Dürer  German, Woodcut
The Four Horsemen, from "The Apocalypse", Albrecht Dürer  German, Woodcut
Knight, Death, and the Devil, Albrecht Dürer  German, Engraving
The Agony in the Garden, Albrecht Dürer  German, Woodcut
Christ on the Mount of Olives, from "The Small Passion", Albrecht Dürer  German, Woodcut
ca. 1510
The Vision of Saint John, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos)  Greek, Oil on canvas
ca. 1608–14
Apollo and Diana, Jacopo de' Barbari  Italian, Engraving
ca. 1503–5
Adam and Eve, Albrecht Dürer  German, Engraving
Philip Melanchthon, Albrecht Dürer  German, Engraving
The Crucifixion, Lucas Cranach the Elder  German, Woodcut
Mohammed and the Monk Sergius, Lucas van Leyden  Netherlandish, Engraving
The Milkmaid, Lucas van Leyden  Netherlandish, Engraving
Showing 20 of 141

View Citations

Mayor, Alpheus Hyatt. 1972. Prints & people: a social history of printed pictures. 2. Pr. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.