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The Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy
October 14, 2018 – January 20, 2019
West Building, Ground Floor

Ugo da Carpi after Parmigianino, Diogenes, c. 1527, chiaroscuro woodcut printed from four blocks: brown line block and three tone blocks in brown and green on laid paper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Pepita Milmore Memorial Fund

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

Chiaroscuro woodcuts—color prints made from the successive printing of multiple blocks—flourished in 16th-century Italy, interpreting designs by leading masters such as Raphael, Parmigianino, and Titian, while boasting extraordinary craft and their own, often striking palette. However, they remain among the least understood phenomena: exactly how were chiaroscuros created, in what sequence were they printed, and why? Based upon the most beautiful impressions in American and British collections, extensive new research, and far-reaching interpretations, this exhibition explains the chiaroscuro woodcut as an essential phenomenon, and one of the most beautiful, in the history of printmaking.

The exhibition is conceived and organized by Naoko Takahatake, curator of prints and drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her research began at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, as a graduate curatorial intern in 2006 and as Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow (2008–2010). The exhibition is coordinated in Washington by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art.

Organization: Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required

Other venues: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, May 15–September 16, 2018

Ugo da Carpi
, 1480 - 1532

Watch a demonstration of how a chiaroscuro woodcut is made in this short silent film produced for the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Ugo da Carpi, after Parmigianino
Ugo da Carpi
c. 1527
Boldrini, Nicolò, after Raphael
Nicolò Boldrini
Hercules and the Nemean Lion
c. 1566
Jackson, John Baptist after Titian
John Baptist Jackson
The Virgin in Clouds and Six Saints
Introduction to the Exhibition: The Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy
Audio, Released: October 16, 2018, (68:19 minutes)
Press Event: The Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy
Audio, Released: October 9, 2018, (14:56 minutes)
Making a Contemporary Chiaroscuro Woodcut with Stephen Chambers RA
Audio, Released: August 14, 2018, (6:10 minutes)