In Dialogue: Medial Thinking in Bolognese Printmaking, 1500-1530

Ariella Minden, M.A.

My dissertation examines Bologna as an innovative centre of printmaking at a critical moment in the media’s development between 1500 and 1530. These thirty years were a dynamic period of activity in which woodcuts, engravings, and etchings in their relative infancy were being negotiated as forms of visual communication within an evolving media landscape. Through a confluence of circumstances, Bologna gave rise and played host to some of the most important practitioners of the period including Peregrino da Cesena, Marcantonio Raimondi, Parmigianino, and Ugo da Carpi, alongside anonymous woodcutters revolutionizing medical illustration. My work considers how a set of paper objects reliant upon new technologies thematize and are communicative on ideas of virtuosity, novelty, failure, expertise, objectivity, and innovation. In doing so, I demonstrate how both artists and some of their most prominent patrons reflected on the potentials of these new media and their relations to and distinctiveness from existing media. By using media theory, this study re-evaluates watershed moments in Italian printmaking and offers a new assessment of the innerworkings of a media revolution. 

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