Signatures of Seventeenth-Century Woodcutters in the Wooden Matrices of the Galleria Estense in Modena
Though ancient literary sources has usually revealed a scarce interest for woodcuts, the study of writings and signatures in the woodblocks of the Galleria Estense in Modena proves that woodcutters did not always remain at the borders of art history. This is true both for the Venetian production of the first half of the 16th century and for the woodcutters linked to the Accademia Clementina in the Bologna area. Several 17th century woodblocks produced at least in part in Emilia-Romagna and mostly created for large-scale printing, show writings and signatures that can be led back to woodcutters whose specific identity is not easy to discover. This practice was probably more due to commercial reasons than to a possible high reputation that woodcutters had of their work.