Before the 16th century, images of artists were rare in European art, but from that time onward, they became increasingly common. The impact of biography, a quintessentially Renaissance phenomenon, coincided with an interest in the representation of the individual. Such images included: portraits of artists; self-portraits; scenes depicting artists at work or with their family, friends, models, or patrons; allegories of art; and depictions of the viewing public. This proliferation of portrayals of artists signaled changing perceptions about both artists and art itself. Artists' work came to be seen less as manual labor and more as an intellectual and creative enterprise, and the social status of artists rose and expanded. Artists represented themselves and their colleagues as gentlemen, craftsmen, scholars, and outsiders. Among the artists featured in this exhibition are Baccio Bandinelli, van Dyck, Poussin, Rembrandt, Hogarth, and Goya. The selection of prints will be complemented by three painted self-portraits by Dutch artists, which will be on loan from The Leiden Collection in New York.
This exhibition presents a selection of prints from the collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation dating from the 16th to the early 19th century. Prints such as these were disseminated widely and helped sow the seeds of modern perceptions of artists and their work.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Michael J. Ripps '04, WTJU 91.1 FM, albemarle Magazine, and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book.