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Incontri, scontri, confronti

Appunti sulla ricezione della xilografia nordica in Italia tra XV e XX secolo

Lorenzo Gigante    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



Germany, France, Italy: the attribution of the first woodcut images has long been debated between several countries, to gain the technological primacy of the invention of reproductive printmaking, before Gutenberg’s movable type printing. Today we know how difficult it is, if not impossible, to establish a place and a date of origin of image printing in Europe. Impossible and probably unimportant. Printing was a European phenomenon in the 15th century, and we may ask ourselves whether a northern woodcut beyond the Italian borders was intended as something different than an Italian one. The contrast between northern and southern prints, which has been claimed by art historians from Vasari until the half of the 20th century, seems to be denied by early modern Italian sources. For example, a German woodcut from the first decades of the 15th century and a Florentine painting from the end of the 14th century can coexist as models for the illumination of the same manuscript. This unpublished case study of two Florentine 15th-century illuminations shows how a European cultural horizon was more common than we think today, and how much woodcut has been a fundamental tool for this broadening of horizons, since its very beginning.

Dec. 22, 2020

Keywords: WoodcutVenturiBouchotMiniature15th centuryPrint

Copyright: © 2020 Lorenzo Gigante. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.