Suzanne Karr Schmidt's
Interactive and Sculptural Printmaking in the Renaissance tells the story of a hands-on genre of prints: how innovative paper engineering redefined the relationship of early modern viewers to art, humanism, and science.
Interactive and sculptural prints pervaded the European reading market of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Single sheets and book illustrations featured movable flaps and dials, and functioned as kits to build three-dimensional scientific instruments. These hybrid constructions—part text, part image, and part sculpture—engaged readers; so did the polemical, satirical, and, occasionally, erotic content. By manipulating dials and flaps, or building and using the instruments, viewers learned to think through images as well as words, interacting visually with desires, social critique, and knowledge itself.
Suzanne Karr Schmidt, Ph.D. (2006), Yale University, is the Newberry Library's George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. Her publications include
Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life (Yale University Press/Art Institute of Chicago, 2011).
“This book is a masterclass in how to find odd things, make sense of them and tell their story in order to reinterpret the historical record. […] Although Karr Schmidt has not gone as far as tasting Renaissance prints, her deep understanding of personal engagements with these objects rewrites standard assumptions about early modern print culture. The book is generously illustrated with colour images. It goes far beyond most publications by showing artefacts in different states, illustrating how an image can change, from its closed to open form, from male to female or devotional to obscene. It offers side-by-side comparisons of related interactive works in other media, from ivory carvings to monumental furniture, also in their different states. […] This book constructs a wholly new approach to the history of printed material, one that begins with the cutting, sewing and tactile reading of this hardback volume itself.”
Elizabeth Savage, University of London. In:
The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 160 (November 2018), pp. 980-981.
“This is the cutting edge of a thriving scholarship on prints as a versatile and dynamic art form. It would be of interest to historians interested in prints, art, science, medicine, religion and culture.”
Sachiko Kusukawa, Trinity College, Cambridge. In:
Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews, March 2019.
“Schmidt’s volume delves into the subject ambitiously, turning long overdue attention to the contrivance of the medium [of interactive prints]. … the cases she presents are stimulating and might well inspire scholars to work out other facets of these artifacts and their historical contexts.”
Charley Ladee, University of Utrecht. In:
Nuncius, Vol. 34, No. 1 (February 2019), pp. 198-200.
Table of contents
Acknowledgments List of Illustrations Abbreviations
Revelatory Playthings: The Religious Origins of the Interactive Print
Dials and the Printed Host
Anatomy of the Reformation: Nosce Antichristum
Anatomies both Normal and Deformed
Indecent Exposure to the Anatomically Incorrect
Instrumentle auff Papir: Georg Hartmann of Nuremberg and the Printed Scientific Instrument Trade
Georg Hartmann as Interactive Printmaker
Instrument Printmaking before Hartmann
Hartmann as Collaborator
Consumption and Exploitation: The International Expansion of the Interactive Book
Conspicuous Consumption and Private Presses
Lotteries, Gaming, and the Public Reaction
Liftable Skirts and Deadly Secrets
Afterword: A User’s Guide to Art?
Historians of art, the book, early modern Europe, religion, and science. Academic and museum libraries, print curators, paper conservators, students, and educated laypeople interested in early printmaking and material culture.