|Art collecting at Williams started with prints. Although the group of reproductive prints used in teaching from the 1850s to the end of the nineteenth century has not survived, interest in original prints by such contemporary artists as James McNeill Whistler was firmly in place by the 1880s, and today the prints constitute one of the largest and most studied branches of the collection. A highlight of the college’s famous yearlong survey of Western art history is the conference devoted to prints wherein students learn the lessons of close looking. Rather than teaching the history of prints, this class is devoted to the identification of printmaking techniques, both historic and modern, and related questions of paper types, inscriptions, and stamps. The demanding study of prints opens our eyes to the identification and interpretation of nuance.
Andrea Mantegna (Italian, ca. 1431-1506)
Entombment, second half of the 15th century
engraving on paper
Museum purchase with funds, provided by
Mrs. Michele A. Vaccariello in memory
of her husband (77.7)