German Renaissance Colour Woodcuts at the British Museum Curated by British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Elizabeth Savage

1 Dec 2015

A British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow has unveiled her new project at the British Museum which will be the first exhibition dedicated to the early history of colour prints in Renaissance and Reformation Germany. 

Curated by Dr Elizabeth Savage, the exhibition will examine the earliest attempts to incorporate colour into printmaking in the 1400s and 1500s in the German lands - where colour printmaking began in the West. It brings together 31 prints and one drawing, many of which are unique and have never been displayed together before, to present a representative survey of the first century of colour printing in Germany, where the technology developed.  

Dr Savage, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, said:

"The history of prints is usually in black and white, but early prints were vibrant. Late medieval and early modern German printers pushed the emergent technology of the printing press to its limits in their quest to print colour. They, not the artists, controlled this artistic effect. The British Museum holds one of the world’s largest collections of early colour prints, so this is a unique opportunity to see how printers manipulated different palettes and achieved a range of stunning visual effects 500 years before Photoshop."

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