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Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475–1540

September 30 – December 31, 2012
West Building, Ground Floor, East Outer Tier Galleries

Hans Burgkmair I and Jost de Negker, Emperor Maximilian I on Horseback, 1508/1518, Chiaroscuro woodcut, Hollstein 5: no. 323, fourth state of seven, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection, 1948.11.14

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: With a storied past and a strong imperial presence, Augsburg enjoyed a golden age in the late 15th and early 16th century—fostering artists such as Hans Burgkmair, Erhard Ratdolt, Daniel Hopfer, Jörg Breu, and Hans Weiditz. Operating in the liminal space between the Habsburg court and the city's own market, they flourished there from about 1475, as the effects of the Italian Renaissance were first being felt, through the social, political, and religious upheavals of the Reformation, which took hold in 1537 following 20 years of struggle. This rich and varied history is told through some 100 works, almost all taken from the Gallery's own extensive collection.

Focusing on the drawings, prints, and illustrated books they created as well as the innovative printing techniques they used, this exhibition—the first of its kind in America—serves as an introduction to Augsburg, its artists and its cultural history, during this period. Encompassing imperial propaganda, humanist subjects, and devotional works addressing a variety of religious concerns, this distinctive body of work—recognizably the product of imperial Augsburg—also celebrates artistic virtuosity and invention.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Sponsor: Supported in part by a generous grant from the Thaw Charitable Trust.

Catalog: Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings 1475-1540, by Gregory Jecmen and Freyda Spira. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2012.

Other Venues: Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin, October 5, 2013–January 5, 2014
Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, September 19–December 14, 2014

Imperial Augsburg: A Flourishing Market for Innovative Prints
Audio, Released: November 13, 2012, (51:01 minutes)