ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts presents the German Prints Collection (15th–20th centuries) as the latest part of the ongoing project to publish its catalogue in electronic format on the Museum's website. TheGermanPrintswebsitewillcontainfoursections, the first two of which – "Albrecht Dürer and his Mentors" and "Albrecht Dürer and his Contemporaries" – are devoted to the pinnacle of German Engraving art, which is represented in its various forms in the Museum's collection. The remaining two sections present works of engraving masters from Germany, Austria and Switzerland in chronological order: "From Mannerism to Neoclassicism" and "From Romanticism to the Late 20th Century". Theorganisers of the projecthave purposely ignored almost completely reproduction prints, which was developed in Germany in the 17th–18th centuries, but was less interesting than in other countries. More than 1000 original engravings will be put up on the site.
The German section of the Engravings Collection at the Pushkin Museum can trace its roots to 1862 and the Rumyantsev Museum in Moscow. Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, donations, bequests and acquisitions made this one of the most valuable and attractive parts of the collection, with more than 22,000 works at the present time. The Moscow collection – second in size only to that in the State Hermitage Museum – boasts numerous masterpieces of the German Renaissance, masterpieces that will appear in the first two sections of the site, which could be grouped together under the umbrella title "The Age of Albrecht Dürer".
The first part of the site ("Albrecht Dürer and his Mentors") introduces the earliest German engravings in the collection of the Pushkin Museum. It consists of three sections. The main section holds the museum's full collection of Dürer's works, including copies that he made of other artists' engravings (and copies of copies). The remaining sections introduce the works of Dürer's teachers,Michael Wolgemut and Martin Schongauer, as well as copies of his prints produced by artists from different countries and eras. The main goal of this part of the site is to give people an idea of the significance and value of the Pushkin Museum's Dürer collection, which is determined not only by the number of works, but also by the quality of the prints.
It is well known that the enormous popularity of Dürer's engravings across Europe led to the mass replication of his works, both during and after his life. A consequence of this was that the boards on which the master worked suffered much wear and tear; the later impressions have a grey and inexpressive tone, whereas those done during the artist's lifetime are marked by the richness of their black tones and subtle grey nuances. The dating on the sheers is based either on watermarks on the print sheet, or on the condition of the board according to Joseph Meder's catalogue of Dürer's work.
The site is intended both for experts in the field and collectors, as well as for the broader public – engraving enthusiasts interested in the technical and stylistic nuances of this art form. This is why every single engraving in the collection is accompanied by a technical description as well an explanation of the subject-matter and references to the main sources and reference books.
Information about the engravings is presented in the following order: first there is general information about the board, including the name of the piece, artist's signature, inscription, date and dimensions. This is followed by a list of relevant reference materials, and then information about the main museum print: when it was prepared, the watermarks, and its origin and accession number. The works also contain explanatory notes that clarify the dating of the main sheets, provide information on other museum prints, and list all the known locations of the remaining boards and the names of artists on the site who copied Dürer's works.
Dürer's engravings have been grouped by technique. Each section first of all contains the series number, followed by the individual sheets in chronological order. The series-numbered engravings are arranged by subject-matter, rather than in chronological order.
The Russian transcriptions of the names of the engravings have been taken from A. Sidorov's reference book. Prints that have not been dated by the artist are determined according to The Illustrated Bartsch (TIB). The margins on a number of sheets are missing, torn out during the artist's life. Consequently, only the dimensions of the prints themselves have been included – depicted in the descriptions in terms of height (the first number) and width (the second number), both in millimetres. The watermarks have been decrypted according to the reference guides produced by Meder and Briquet. Engravings that have a collector's mark contain the entire history of the impression. Those that do not have collector's marks reference to the Rumyantsev Museum, which is where the Pushkin Museum's main collection of engravings and drawings came from. The inscriptions on the engravings are not copies, but their exact reproduction.
The bibliography of works about Albrecht Dürer includes general pieces in Russian, as well as major monographs and writings in other languages.
Collection: Department of Prints and Drawings of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Organiser of the project: Galina Kislykh, Lead Researcher, Curator of German Prints from the 15th to the 20th centuries
Size: 295 engraving sheets
The specialists involved in the work on this Project were:
Author of of the scientific descriptions and articles, curator: Galina Kislykh
Editor: Larisa Platova
Proofreader: Yuri Kotlyar
English translation: Aleksei Tereshchenko
German translation: Astrid Volpert, Berlin
Technical director: Vladimir Opredelenov
Designers: Alexander Kizyachenko, Mikhail Ugolnikov
Programmer: Svetlana Kuznetsova
Technical editor, content manager: Yulia Buzina
High-precision digital photo: Artem Beloborodov, Sergey Losev, Dmitriy Losev, Vladislav Sheverdin
Digital processing of images: Svetlana Gershman, Vladimir Kozub, Anna Shutova
The organiser would like to thank:
Yulia Krasnobayevaya, Senior Researcher at the Coins and Medals Department of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Curator of the Western European Coins and Medals Collection