During a time of globalization, colonization, and warfare, Europeans in the Renaissance embraced new technology even as they lamented its disruptive, destructive, and destabilizing consequences.
Renaissance Invention explores the conception of novelty and technology through an unprecedented study of Nova Reperta (New Discoveries), a late sixteenth-century print series that celebrated the marvels of the age, including the stirrup, the cure for syphilis, and the so-called discovery of America. Designed in Florence and printed in Antwerp, the Nova Reperta images spread far and wide, shaping Europeans’ perceptions of the innovations that were changing the world and breeding anxiety about the future.
In Renaissance Invention, materials from the Newberry’s collection will appear alongside armor from the Art Institute of Chicago and astronomical instruments from the Adler Planetarium, transporting visitors to a time of change, disruption, and technological development that bears a striking resemblance to our own today.
Renaissance Invention was commended by the 2019 Sotheby’s Prize for its innovation and curatorial excellence.
Renaissance Invention is supported by Mr. and Mrs. Edward M. Blair, Jr., Dr. Christine M. Sperling, Pam and Doug Walter, and an anonymous donor. Support for related public programs is provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.