Memphis Brooks Museum of Art exhibits bibles and prints

November 10, 2011 by  

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis’ latest exhibit Divine Words/Common Tongues: Reformation Era Bibles and Prints will show till January 8.

The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis has a large collection of graphic works; prints comprise their largest single collection. While most of the prints in the collection are from the 20th century by artists such as Andy Warhol, they also have a large collection of prints by “old masters” such as Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya and William Hogarth. They also own a few Japanese woodcuts from the Uklyo-e school.

Some of the museum’s print collection is presented in the exhibit Divine Words/Common Tongues: Reformation Era Bibles and Prints. It highlights the “importance of illustration, treatises, and block books immediately before and during the Protestant Reformation.” The latest exhibit features several prints from the 1400s by artists such as Albrecht Durer and Heinrich Aldegrever. The exhibit is curated by Stanton Thomas, Curator of European and Decorative Art. Prints were used in the 1400s to help educate the public; illiteracy was rampant and those who could read could not always afford to buy even a Bible.

Print making has changed a lot over the years, obviously. Wood blocks were once the only printing tools we had. Thankfully, due to technological advances, printing has become easier and processes that make postcard and poster printing easier are inexpensive ways of presenting art or of notifying the public of upcoming events. Memphis printers might take some inspiration from exhibits such as the one at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.