9 February – 5 June 2005
Sponsored by American Friends of the British Museum
The print collection of Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus, is the earliest known to historians. The prints themselves were dispersed long ago, but an inventory preserved in Seville describes 3200 engravings, woodcuts and maps.
The exhibition presents a partial reconstruction of this collection with around 150 prints by all the most important Renaissance printmakers. Included are works from Italy by Antonio Polllaiuolo, Marcantonio Raimondi and Giovanni Battista Palumba; from Germany by Albrecht Dürer, Albrect Altdorfer, Hans Baldung and Hans Weiditz; from the low countries by Lucas van Leyden and Jost de Negker.
Many are large format prints such as maps that have rarely been exhibited. A highlight of the exhibition is a stencil coloured genealogical tree of the House of Charles V by Robert Peril that is 7.3 metres long.
Israhel van Meckenem, St George and the Dragon, engraving, Germany, c.1470-1500.