Several years ago, Shelley Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and former member of the MFA’s PDP curatorial staff), embarked on an extensive study of Italian chiaroscuro woodcuts with her Philadelphia colleagues, Nancy Ash, Senior Conservator of Works on Paper, and Beth Price, Senior Scientist. Their goals were to learn more about the components used in the color inks, to gather a broad survey of watermark information, and to develop a more consistent method for referencing specific ink colors used in the prints—one scholar’s ochre is another scholar’s yellow—in order to facilitate a better understanding of how and when the prints were made, and how the appearance of the inks might have changed over time.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston holds one of the most outstanding collections of Italian chiaroscuro woodcuts in the United States, thanks in large part to the collector/donor W. G. Russell Allen’s strong interest in color printing. Shelley Langdale will present an overview of her and her colleagues’ recent research including important insights they gained through the study of prints in the MFA collection.
Above: Giuseppe Niccolò Rossigliani called Niccolò Vicentino, Saturn, about 1533–50, Chiaroscuro woodcut. Bequest of W. G. Russell Allen 64.1110