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Release Date: July 18, 2017

Woodcut Book Illustration from the 16th Century Explored in National Gallery of Art Library Installation

Hartmann Schopper, born 1542, Panoplia omnium illiberalium mechanicarum aut sedentariarum artium genera continens, Frankfurt: Georg Corin and Sigmund Feyerabend, 1568, National Gallery of Art Library, David K. E. Bruce Fund

Hartmann Schopper, born 1542, Panoplia omnium illiberalium mechanicarum aut sedentariarum artium genera continens, Frankfurt: Georg Corin and Sigmund Feyerabend, 1568, National Gallery of Art Library, David K. E. Bruce Fund

Washington, DC—In the late 16th century Jost Amman (1539–1591) became one of northern Europe's most prolific printmakers and book illustrators. This special installation contextualizes Amman's particular style of combining precise simplicity and fanciful imagination to produce economical woodcuts for books on a wide variety of topics. In the Library: Jost Amman and 16th-Century Woodcut Illustration will be on view from September 5, 2017, through January 5, 2018, in the East Building Study Center.

About the Installation

This installation focuses on Amman's woodcuts alongside those of his predecessors including Virgil Solis (1514–1562), Hans Sebald Beham (1500–1550), and Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), as well as his contemporary, Tobias Stimmer (1539–1584).

During his career Amman completed hundreds of designs for dozens of book commissions on subjects ranging from bibles, classics, history, and literature to costumes and emblems. Despite criticism of the quality of his work after his death, Amman's prints were copied and reused, eventually becoming pattern books that influenced later artists such as Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669).

Organized by the National Gallery of Art Library and curated by Yuri Long, rare book librarian, National Gallery of Art, this installation is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Library and Rare Books Collection

The National Gallery of Art Library holds more than 400,000 books and periodicals, including more than 15,000 volumes in the rare books collection, with an emphasis on Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, particularly the Italian, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Spanish, British, and American schools. The collection features an extraordinary range of material, from manuscripts and early printed books to annotated catalogs and price lists, from landmark publications such as Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists to serials produced by Dada artists. Special emphasis is given to the areas of collection catalogs, biographies of artists, manuals on technique and materials, architecture, color theory, the early history of photography, festival books, travel literature, emblem books, and artists' books.

The National Gallery of Art Library was founded in 1941, the year the Gallery opened to the public. In 1979 the completion of a new seven-story facility in the Gallery's East Building and the establishment of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) allowed the library to broaden the purpose and scope of its collection. A major national art research center, the library serves the Gallery's staff, CASVA members, visiting scholars, and researchers.

To access the library, which is open Monday through Friday, visitors must make an appointment. Call (202) 842-6511 or email [email protected] for more information.

Press Contact:
Laurie Tylec, (202) 842-6355 or [email protected]

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at www.nga.gov. Follow the Gallery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofArt, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ngadc, and Instagram at http://instagram.com/ngadc.

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