Jennifer Lam
Contributing Writer

In collaboration with the University of San Francisco’s Masters in Museum Studies Program, Thatcher Gallery is presenting an array of early books and wood prints from the Donohue Rare Book Room in the collection “Reformations: Dürer & the New Age of Print” open to the public until Feb. 22.

This is the first time that the gallery has had a MA Curatorial class design, curate, and develop an exhibit. Fourteen students working with Professor Catherine Lusheck contributed to the exhibit by working on every detail,  from researching each piece to writing the dry copy of the panels.

All of these objects are a part of the rare book room collection, and have to be treated with great care. The reason why the gallery is so dark upon entrance is to preserve the delicate pieces. During the tours, lights are raised and magnifying glasses are available to view each piece in detail.

The exhibit is comprised of over 75 works that were produced throughout the Renaissance. It highlights the movement from traditional hand-written manuscript to the creation of printed work by movable type and the printing press, focusing on pieces made around the 15th to 16th century in Germany. The exhibit includes wood prints, engravings, and printed books.

The exhibit best honors German-born artist, Albrecht Dürer, widely considered the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance. Dürer was born into a family of 18 children and apprenticed with a local printer before he traveled to Italy to be influenced by other artists of the  Renaissance.

Visitors will get the chance to see the earliest works of print that were produced with a predominantly religious perspective, to the more modern humanist perspective. The centerpiece of the gallery is a visual history of the world from the time of Adam and Eve to 1492 and is one of the first centerfolds printed across a binding.

Other highlights include the early print, “ St. Jerome In His Study”, printed in 1497 and famous for its innovative use of perspective to achieve intimacy.

A collection of prints made from 1509-1511 depicts scenes from The Fall of Man to The Last Judgment. Although small, they capture the emotions using combinations of  light and dark shades in woodcuts.

Another collection of prints show an engraving process, which was much more refined than the wood-cutting alternative. It used cross-hatching to achieve shades of grey and much more detail in the facial features and gestures. More refined than woodcut pieces, they were done by Dürer in a successful attempt to elevate himself as an artist.

Most of the exhibit is located in Thatcher Gallery, but extends to the Donohue Rare Book Room located on the third floor of Gleeson Library.

Located in Gleeson Library, the Thatcher Gallery is free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. daily. The Donohue Rare Book Room is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: Racquel Gonzales/Foghorn

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, February 12, 12-1 PM – Printmaking Demonstration/ Prof. Arturo Araujo, S.J.

Thursday, February 19, 1-2 PM – Renaissance Typography/Prof. Stewart McKee



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