Narrative Im[press]ions: 200 Years of Printed Illustrations
November 14, 2016 - June 24, 2017

This exhibition was curated by students in the University of Colorado’s English course "Introduction to Media Theory in the Humanities". Over the course of the semester, students selected and researched prints from CU Art Museum’s collection, exploring print technology from the hand-press period, which began in 1450 with the invention of moveable type by Johannes Gutenberg and ended in the 1830s with the advent of mechanized steam printing. In this era, the primary print technologies were woodcut and copperplate etching and engraving. Each print in this exhibition illustrates a text. Some were made for books and magazines, while others were designed as framed wall art. Regardless of whether they were meant to hang on a wall or appear tipped between the pages of a book, engravings and woodcuts transformed narrative content into reproducible images. These works interpret and render visible scenes from either literary texts or historical events. Together with texts, printed images helped stories and events come alive to readers. This exhibit offers examples of the array of narratives that were presented as reproducible images well before the advent of photography.