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Renaissance Patterns


“noch vil höher, und subtiler Künsten… an tag zu bringen”: Renaissance Pattern Books and Ornament Prints as Catalysts of the Design Process

Femke Speelberg

Published online:

04 Mar 2024



In traditional art history, early modern pattern books and the closely related genre of the ornament print are rarely associated with the kind of autonomous invention encapsulated in the concept of disegno. However, by looking through the lens of several fifteenth and sixteenth century printed design resources, including Giovanni Antonio Tagliente’s Esempio di raccammi (1527) and the Kunstbüchlin (1538) of Heinrich Vogtherr the Elder and his son, this essay aims to demonstrate that there is strong foundational overlap between these two divergent products of the Renaissance. Rather than instilling among artists a culture of slavish copying, the production and increased access to (printed) variant designs facilitated the generation of ideas that were suggested by, but lay well beyond the scope of the printed page.

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Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte Issues

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