Spotlight

Alchemisches Wissen | Alchemical Knowledge

Überlegungen zu den Grenzen von Wissensvermittlung im Kontext der Materialverfügbarkeit und Materialnotwendigkeit | Considerations about the limits of knowledge transfer in the context of material availability and material necessity Abstract: In the following, it will be exemplified how the design of a print is significantly influenced not only by technical know-how, but also by the available material. Die drei Drucke...

As this sort of stone has hitherto met with few observers | Basalt um 1800

Abstract: Basalt around 1800: This spotlight discusses the interrelation between a natural material (basalt) and a man-made artificial substance (black basalt ware). From 1769 onwards, the famous English ceramist Josiah Wedgwood produced his “black basalt ware”. Firstly it refers to the black-figure Attic vases, among others shown in the Hamilton collection, and thus takes into account the enthusiasm for ancient greek...

Tangible Dunkelheit | Tangible Darkness

Überlegungen zur Maltechnik in einem niederländischen Nachtlandschaftsgemälde | Considerations about painting techniques in a Dutch nightscape painting Abstract: The subgenre of the nocturnal landscape, which was strongly shaped by the artist Aert van der Neer (1603/4-1677), is apparently driven by an interest in the challenge of painting the near absence of light and thus by the negotiation of the medium with...

A Matter of Motion: Glass as a Material in Flux

Abstract: As a supercooled liquid, glass is characterised by its constant state of flux that is not perceivable to human senses, yet a concrete material phenomenon. Analysing two contemporary artworks, a video series by David Schnuckel and a monumental glass sculpture by Pae White, this article explores different means of artistically addressing the motion of matter. Glass is a material...

Brown. An elusive yet very earthly colour

Abstract: What colour is Brown? And, hierarchically, where does it rank compared to other colours such as blue or white? This short essay sheds light on how scholars and practitioners historically understood brown and all its nuances. The word brown and the related hues were associated in baroque art literature with the colour of the ylem ­– of the earth...

Platemarks and Papermarks. Inquiring the Counterproof’s (Absent) Matrix

Abstract: Platemarks and papermarks can bear witness to the production process of a counterproof. In the example of an 18th-century print series, they allow conjectures on the appreciation of the counterproof’s (absent) matrices. A counterproof is a print of a print. As this involves printing from paper on paper the process leaves specific traces which raise questions about the making...

„Ekstatische Membrane”. Wie das Polaroid-Verfahren die Fotografie revolutionierte | “Ecstatic Membrane”. How the Polaroid process revolutionised photography

Abstract: Launched in 1947, the Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 was the first camera, which allowed to see the results of captured images almost instantly – a feature not even questioned by users of digital cameras and smartphones, but which represented a fundamental change in photographic automation at the time. Freed from the confines of the darkroom, the Polaroid offered...

Nature print’s revival?

Abstract: What in retrospect might appear as an astonishing revival of the early modern practice of nature prints in Vienna around 1850, was in fact embedded in a radically new framework of conditions and expectations. The technical procedures included genuinely new networks of cooperating specialists and image-generating causes, and at least promised adaptability for industrial mass production.

Das Monogramm in der Höhle | The Monogram in the Cave

Among the innovations introduced by Albrecht Dürer in the medium of woodcuts is the monogram, which identifies him as the author of the design. Before that, woodcuts – unlike copperplate engravings – were only signed in exceptional cases and if, presumably by the editor. For it was the editor who stood at the end of a complex production chain involving several specialists: the draughtsman who supplied the design, the cutter (Formschneider) who cut it into the wood and the printer who produced the prints on paper. Dürer’s idea quickly found imitators: from the beginning of the 16th century, most woodcuts bore the monogram of the designer. How closely the signature was linked to the claim to originality can be exemplified by Hans Baldung Grien’s woodcut “St. Jerome in the Desert” (1511). The tablet with the monogram, which lays hidden in a cave, clearly demonstrates the creative potential of signatures but also reflects on issues of authorship in the woodcut: While the printed image is the product of the engraver and the printer, the contribution of the artist responsible for the design can only be found as a trace.

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