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Sunday, Feb 19, 2012

Worth A Thousand Words: The Art of Illustration from The Hyde Collection

Now through February 19, 2012:

This exhibition highlights some of the most important illustrated volumes intended for adult readers in the Hyde's collection. 

      The earliest work in the exhibition is the famed Nuremberg Chronicle or Liber Cronicarum of 1493. This encyclopedia of world history and geography of the late-fifteenth century was the most ambitious printed work of its type at that date. With more than 1,800 hand-colored woodblock prints and text produced using cast-metal type its publication was still quite revolutionary as the introduction of mass-produced movable type by Johannes Gutenberg (ca. 1398 – 1468) had only occurred in 1439 when his famous Bible was produced using this technology.

      Others books to be featured from the permanent collection include the work of American French and British artists. Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1821-1888) and Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) are two of the most prominent American artists/illustrators. Darley was chosen by the American Art Union to create the plates for a special edition of Washington Irving’s stories Rip van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow in 1848-49 and Vedder produced remarkable drawings for Edward Fitzgerald’s 1884 translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Britain’s foremost illustrators are represented in the exhibition by George Cruikshank (1792-1878), one of Charles Dickens’ best known collaborators; Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), whose classic images of fairies and goblins made him a perfect choice to capture J. M. Barries’s Peter Pan; and J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) whose watercolors were chosen to be illustrated in an 1835 edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. The French artist and explorer Jacques-Gerard Milbert’s Itinéraire Pittoresque du Fleuve Hudson of 1827 illustrates New York’s landmark waterway, including views of Glens Falls, Lake George, Albany and Fort Edward (then called Sandy Hill) in a large format volume of handsomely lithographed plates.

Detail:  Michael Wolgemut, German, 1434/37-1519 or Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, German, ca. 1460- ca. 1494 (artists), Dr. Hartmann Schedel, German, 1440-1514 (author), Building Noah’s Ark from The Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493, woodcut, hand-colored, 18 3/8 x 12 1/4 in., The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, New York, 1971.110, Bequest of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde


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