Blocks and Plates - Towards a History of Relief and Intaglio Printing Surfaces 1450-1830
The history of printed imagery is based on the final product, theâ¯printedâ¯impressions. But the objects with which they were printed can tell aâ¯different andâ¯much more complex story. By adapting methods used for the historyâ¯of type-casting and typography to non-textual material, this course offers aâ¯newâ¯methodology to make research use of the hundreds of thousands of survivingâ¯cutâ¯woodblocks, etched and engraved plates, and other print matrices/printingâ¯surfaces from the hand-press period. The course offers students new ways ofâ¯approaching historical printed visual material by exploring what informationâ¯theseâ¯objects can offer that printed impressions cannot, and vice versa. Byâ¯examiningâ¯cast-metal images, techniques of replicating relief surfaces (bothâ¯type andâ¯imagery), xylographic woodcuts, wood type, etc, as well as ‘texts’ andâ¯‘images’, itâ¯bridges modern disciplines to ask where text ends and image beginsâ¯from theâ¯maker’s perspective. The object-based teaching is structured aroundâ¯lectures,â¯historically informed practical sessions (in a print workshop and aâ¯collection ofâ¯historical presses), hands-on exercises exploring relevant digitalâ¯methods andâ¯reference sources, and object sessions with the woodblocks,â¯copperplates, andâ¯other items used to print historically significant artworks,â¯books and bookâ¯illustrations.