Before the age of multimedia, how did the invention of a new technology affect the careers of Renaissance artists? In this groundbreaking book Evelyn Lincoln examines the formation of the new career of printmaker during the late fifteenth century and throughout the sixteenth century in Italy. She focuses particularly on the practical relationship between the ancient skill of drawing and the more modern techniques of artisans who made prints by engraving images into copper or wood. Looking closely at the widely diverse prints issuing from early Italian presses, Lincoln shows how Italian social, religious, and educational practices are revealed in these printed images, demonstrating how the printmaker’s training and experience affected the look of the finished work.
Lincoln builds her discussion around the work of three printmakers practicing at different times and under varying economic opportunities and restraints: Andrea Mantegna in Mantua, Domenico Beccafumi in Siena, and Diana Mantuana (Diana Scultori) in Rome. She shows how the occupational origins of early printmakers and publishers affected how they thought about the functions of multiple images. This account of their workat powerful courts, in a small republic, and in a cosmopolitan citysets the prints in the context of related paintings, sculpture, and architecture, describing a period when printmaking opened up new ways to make a living and transformed the mechanisms of Renaissance visual culture.