Paper Museums: The Reproductive Print in Europe, 1500–1800

As relatively inexpensive, transportable, and storable objects, prints occupied an important place in early modern European culture.

Many of them reproduced other works of art and we now call them "reproductive" prints. They were often considered to be of lower status than so-called "original" prints, yet in their initial historical and cultural context, reproductive prints were crucial to the forging of a common visual culture. 

Paper Museums offers an important interpretive survey of these remarkable works. The contributors to the volume explore the diverse range of uses for reproductive prints, including establishing printmakers' reputations as truthful and authoritative artists, promoting an artist's oeuvre or the holdings of a collector, and enabling the public to enjoy original works vicariously. The volume also analyzes issues such as the culture of the print workshop and, in particular, the status of female printmakers; truth and authenticity ascribed to the printed form; and the dissemination of antique forms through prints.


Rebecca Zorach and Elizabeth Rodini with contributions by Sarah Cree, Alexandra M. Korey, Lia Markey, and Dawna Schuld

Publication date

April 2005


Paper, 168 pages, 8 color plates, 113 halftone illustrations



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Available for $24 online through the University of Chicago Press or in person at the Smart Museum Shop.