Lasting impressions

By GREG COOK  |  October 7, 2009

The show culminates with Frenchman Robert Nanteuil making his marks so small in his portrait of Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne (c. 1665) that they disappear into an illusion of the man that is remarkably photographic. The technique anticipates the tiny fields of dots of contemporary printing.

The show draws on the collections of RISD, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery in Washington, DC, to survey this crucial span in the development of realism in printing. But what may stick with you are individual images, like Domenico Campagnola's The Battle of the Naked Men (1517), which emphasizes the swirling tumult of guys and horses with dense perpendicular hatched lines, or Giorgio Ghisi's 1561 Allegory of Life, a claustrophobic fever dream of monsters and shipwrecks, rainbows and paradise. And note how Anna Maria van Schurman's steady, but modest gaze in her 1633 self-portrait contrasts with the bold execution of the her hair, lace, and embroidered sleeves. Beneath she writes in Latin that she draws herself not out of vanity, but because she did not want to risk a "weightier task the first time."

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Related: Rude awakening, Creative loafing, Photos: The Brilliant Line at RISD's Museum of Art, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Visual Arts, Emily Peters, Albrecht Durer,  More more >
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