In the Guise of the Brush: The Italian Chiaroscuro Woodcut

Bartolomeo  Coriolano (Italian, ca. 1599-ca. 1676); after Guido Reni (1575-1642)  Allegory of Peace and Abundance (detail)   Chiaroscuro woodcut, 1627/1642

Layering impressions from multiple carved blocks, the chiaroscuro woodcut is hardly discernible as a relief print, but instead appears to be fashioned with a painter’s fluid brush. These remarkable prints reveal the intricate commercial relationship between painters, woodcarvers, publishers, and patrons, and explore the timeless debate of what is an original work of art. Featuring drawings and prints from the permanent collection as well as loans from the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College and the Smith College Museum of Art, In the Guise of the Brush: The Italian Chiaroscuro Woodcut examines the inspiration and innovation behind this novel medium and three centuries of artists who embraced its possibilities.