18.10.2008 – 01.02.2009

Andrea Mantegna and the Art of Printmaking

The exhibtion presents the seven so-called »Mantegna master engravings«: »The Entombment of Christ«, »The Risen Christ with Saints Andrew and Longinus«, »Virgin and Child«, »Battle of the Sea Gods« (left and right half), »Bacchanal with a Wine Vat« and »Bacchanal with Silenus«. These are predominantly attributed to the artist’s own hand: According to other viewpoints, however, Mantegna merely supplied the designs in the form of drawings for realization in the printmaking medium by his employees. Particularly the technical and qualitative perfection of the seven »master engravings« seems to point as strongly as ever to the correctness of their attribution to Mantegna himself. He is a painter known for his love for experimentation, so that it appears quite reasonable to imagine that, at least in seven cases, he took the print reproduction of his drawings into his own hand – still a relatively young medium at the time. What is more, perhaps he used precisely these engravings as a means of instructing other engravers to make prints after his drawings in the style he had developed. Mantegna was the first artist in Italy to operate an engraving workshop on such a major scale.

A catalogue (48 pages) has been published in conjunction with the exhibition.

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