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Kirsten J. Burke // Johann Neudörffer and the Writing Masters of Renaissance Germany

My dissertation investigates the artistic phenomenon of Schreibkunst and the writing masters of Renaissance Germany. It explores the calligraphic world of Nuremberg Schreib- and Rechenmeister Johann Neudörffer the Elder (1497-1563) as Neudörffer’s work tells a new story of artistic production in the Northern Renaissance—one that survives in its own words. Projekt Kirsten BurkeThese writing manuals expand traditional notions of graphic art beyond the bounds of drawing and printmaking. They reveal the importance of writing for early modern artistic practice, and particularly for the graphic revolution of artists such as Albrecht Dürer. From calligraphy to etching and beyond, writing masters produced meticulously-articulated morphologies and materials of mark-making, tools, and multimedia operations of graphic art that were integral also to science and politics. Such practices take us behind the scenes to the laboratory of art in sixteenth-century northern Europe, reviving in period terms the imagination and ambition of those who explored new kinds of making. And as these graphic modes made history, Neudörffer also pioneered parallel practices: both making art out of writing, and for the first time in Germany, through his 1546 biographies of the artists, writing about artists and their history.

[Caption: Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 - 1600),Wainscot, French Rose, Wasplike Insect, English Daisy, and Caterpillar, 1561–1562; illumination added 1591–1596, Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment, Leaf: 16.6 × 12.4 cm (6 9/16 × 4 7/8 in.), Ms. 20 (86.MV.527), fol. 11. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 20, fol. 11]