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Photo courtesy of McNay Art Museum

McNay Art Museum presents Art for the Sake of Art, drawn entirely from the old master collection at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The Blanton has one of the finest encyclopedic collections in the region with prints tracing the entire history of the graphic arts in Western Europe. This exhibition focuses on jewel-like ornament prints of the 16th century.

Ornament prints, with their emphasis on pure form - sinuous lines and entrancing patterns and textures - allowed artists to experiment and freed them from the constraints that come with biblical or historical narratives, or with portrait commissions. Looking at these incredibly complex images, one can image the artist getting lost in the process, completely absorbed by the very act of artistic creation. The abstract quality of ornament prints as well their emphasis on pure line can seem almost modern in conception.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a beautiful, silvery impression of Veneziano’s Panel of Ornament with Acanthus and a Swan of the mid-1530s. This is considered to be the single finest ornament print of the Italian High Renaissance.

The ornamental prints served the same role as today’s Google image search, making it possible for a wealthy merchant in Antwerp to stay current with the latest designs coming from the studios of Rome. Inevitably, ornament prints became so refined and so beautifully made, that they transcended the merely utilitarian to become masterpieces of the printmaker’s art in their own right.

McNay Art Museum presents Art for the Sake of Art, drawn entirely from the old master collection at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The Blanton has one of the finest encyclopedic collections in the region with prints tracing the entire history of the graphic arts in Western Europe. This exhibition focuses on jewel-like ornament prints of the 16th century.

Ornament prints, with their emphasis on pure form - sinuous lines and entrancing patterns and textures - allowed artists to experiment and freed them from the constraints that come with biblical or historical narratives, or with portrait commissions. Looking at these incredibly complex images, one can image the artist getting lost in the process, completely absorbed by the very act of artistic creation. The abstract quality of ornament prints as well their emphasis on pure line can seem almost modern in conception.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a beautiful, silvery impression of Veneziano’s Panel of Ornament with Acanthus and a Swan of the mid-1530s. This is considered to be the single finest ornament print of the Italian High Renaissance.

The ornamental prints served the same role as today’s Google image search, making it possible for a wealthy merchant in Antwerp to stay current with the latest designs coming from the studios of Rome. Inevitably, ornament prints became so refined and so beautifully made, that they transcended the merely utilitarian to become masterpieces of the printmaker’s art in their own right.

McNay Art Museum presents Art for the Sake of Art, drawn entirely from the old master collection at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The Blanton has one of the finest encyclopedic collections in the region with prints tracing the entire history of the graphic arts in Western Europe. This exhibition focuses on jewel-like ornament prints of the 16th century.

Ornament prints, with their emphasis on pure form - sinuous lines and entrancing patterns and textures - allowed artists to experiment and freed them from the constraints that come with biblical or historical narratives, or with portrait commissions. Looking at these incredibly complex images, one can image the artist getting lost in the process, completely absorbed by the very act of artistic creation. The abstract quality of ornament prints as well their emphasis on pure line can seem almost modern in conception.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is a beautiful, silvery impression of Veneziano’s Panel of Ornament with Acanthus and a Swan of the mid-1530s. This is considered to be the single finest ornament print of the Italian High Renaissance.

The ornamental prints served the same role as today’s Google image search, making it possible for a wealthy merchant in Antwerp to stay current with the latest designs coming from the studios of Rome. Inevitably, ornament prints became so refined and so beautifully made, that they transcended the merely utilitarian to become masterpieces of the printmaker’s art in their own right.

WHEN

WHERE

McNay Art Museum
6000 N. New Braunfels Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78209
http://www.mcnayart.org/

TICKET INFO

Free with museum admission.
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