Press Release  July 18, 2017

Woodcut Book Illustration from the 16th Century Explored in National Gallery of Art Library Installation

In the late 16th century Jost Amman (1539–1591) became one of northern Europe's most prolific printmakers and book illustrators. This special installation contextualizes Amman's particular style of combining precise simplicity and fanciful imagination to produce economical woodcuts for books on a wide variety of topics. In the Library: Jost Amman and 16th-Century Woodcut Illustration will be on view from September 5, 2017, through January 5, 2018, in the East Building Study Center.

About the Installation

This installation focuses on Amman's woodcuts alongside those of his predecessors including Virgil Solis (1514–1562), Hans Sebald Beham (1500–1550), and Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), as well as his contemporary, Tobias Stimmer (1539–1584).

During his career Amman completed hundreds of designs for dozens of book commissions on subjects ranging from bibles, classics, history, and literature to costumes and emblems. Despite criticism of the quality of his work after his death, Amman's prints were copied and reused, eventually becoming pattern books that influenced later artists such as Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669).

Organized by the National Gallery of Art Library and curated by Yuri Long, rare book librarian, National Gallery of Art, this installation is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Library and Rare Books Collection

The National Gallery of Art Library holds more than 400,000 books and periodicals, including more than 15,000 volumes in the rare books collection, with an emphasis on Western art from the Middle Ages to the present, particularly the Italian, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Spanish, British, and American schools. The collection features an extraordinary range of material, from manuscripts and early printed books to annotated catalogs and price lists, from landmark publications such as Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Artists to serials produced by Dada artists. Special emphasis is given to the areas of collection catalogs, biographies of artists, manuals on technique and materials, architecture, color theory, the early history of photography, festival books, travel literature, emblem books, and artists' books.

The National Gallery of Art Library was founded in 1941, the year the Gallery opened to the public. In 1979 the completion of a new seven-story facility in the Gallery's East Building and the establishment of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) allowed the library to broaden the purpose and scope of its collection. A major national art research center, the library serves the Gallery's staff, CASVA members, visiting scholars, and researchers.

To access the library, which is open Monday through Friday, visitors must make an appointment. Call (202) 842-6511 or email for more information.

Press Contact

Laurie Tylec, (202) 842-6355 or

General Information

The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden are at all times free to the public. They are located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, and are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on December 25 and January 1. For information call (202) 737-4215 or visit the Gallery's Web site at Follow the Gallery on Facebook at, Twitter at, and Instagram at

Visitors will be asked to present all carried items for inspection upon entering. Checkrooms are free of charge and located at each entrance. Luggage and other oversized bags must be presented at the 4th Street entrances to the East or West Building to permit x-ray screening and must be deposited in the checkrooms at those entrances. For the safety of visitors and the works of art, nothing may be carried into the Gallery on a visitor's back. Any bag or other items that cannot be carried reasonably and safely in some other manner must be left in the checkrooms. Items larger than 17 by 26 inches cannot be accepted by the Gallery or its checkrooms.

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353

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