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Descent from the Cross

Descent from the Cross

Ugo da Carpi

The Bridwell Library has recently acquired a print of this work made from three blocks in the chiaroscuro woodcut style. Though not part of the Post Chiaroscuro: Prints in Color After the Renaissance exhibition, the students in History of Western Printmaking, 1400-1750 (ARHS 3364) were given the option to answer a question regarding the print for extra credit on the looking assignment.

An extra credit question on the ARHS 3364 looking assignment pertains specifically to this piece. Students were required to make an appointment with a curator at the Bridwell Library in order to view the print.

Those using this website to view the meta-exhibition virtually can follow along using the images provided; click on an image to enlarge it.

Listen to the class discuss these works:

Looking Assignment

Extra Credit: Which impression exhibited in the Hawn Gallery seems to you closest to Ugo da Carpi's chiaroscuro woodcut in terms of how it was made, and why?

Answer: Ugo da Carpi’s chiaroscuro woodcut and Octavio Medellin’s Unknown exhibit similar characteristics due to print technique. In the creation of his chiaroscuro woodcuts, Ugo da Carpi used multiple matrices, including a key or line block and one or more tone block. Similarly, Medellin utilized six matrices to create one impression of Untitled. Even though Ugo da Carpi used wood blocks and Medellin used linoleum blocks, characteristics of relief printing, such as ink squash, are visible on both impressions. Ink squash is visible in Descent from the Cross in the upper right hand corner and along the top border and in Untitled along the edge of each color. Unknown was printed with different colors and Descent from the Cross was printed with different tones of a single color, but the outlines of the multiple blocks are still apparent. On the back of Descent from the Cross, marks from bleeding ink of various tones provide evidence of the use of a different type of ink for each tone.
Caroline Aston, Class of 2014

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