Event—Public Programming

Renaissance Pop-Up Books


Listen to an audio recording of this program.

Interactive and Sculptural Printmaking in the Renaissance tells the story of a hands-on genre of prints: how innovative paper engineering redefined the relationship of early modern viewers to art, humanism, and science.

Interactive and sculptural prints pervaded the European reading market of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Single sheets and book illustrations featured movable flaps and dials, and functioned as kits to build three-dimensional scientific instruments. These hybrid constructions—part text, part image, and part sculpture—engaged readers; so did the polemical, satirical, and, occasionally, erotic content. By manipulating dials and flaps, or building and using the instruments, viewers learned to think through images as well as words, interacting visually with desires, social critique, and knowledge itself.

Suzanne Karr Schmidt is the Newberry Library's George Amos Poole III Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. British Airways once heralded her book as "unusual and distinctive." Her other publications include Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life.

Download a PDF flyer for this event to post and distribute, explore a Quick Guide to related Newberry collection materials, and download your own Renaissance interactives.

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