“Renaissanced” : Echoes in the printmaking world


Hana Beaty

World Census is of the renaissance artworks that were chosen for the Turner Gallery. It shows a very geometric shapes and simple black and white colors.

Visitors walking into the Janet Turner Print Museum this month will be greeted by dozens of influential prints and lithographs, ranging from the early 1500s to the late 20th century. The exhibition, dubbed “Renaissanced” was curated by Chico State history professor, Jason Nice, and the students in his spring of 2019 “renaissance civilization: 1300-1500” class. 

At first glance, the arrangement of prints is bemusing, seemingly random as colorful lithographs from the 20th century hang next to medieval metal engravings. However, as the culmination of student statements depict the correlation of Renaissance influence among each print, a pattern presents itself. 

“We can see echoes of the Renaissance in how artists and printmakers take exception to the traditional notions of beauty and humanity,” Nice said. 

The Renaissance is often diminished to a time period between the 1300s and the 1600s, but the exhibition curated by Nice and his students develops the notion that complex variations of Renaissance influences have taken the form of humanism in contemporary art, among other configurations. 

“Students considered and analyzed humanity and the human body, then compared those writings from the Renaissance to depictions of free will, chance and destiny, playing with the idea of time and periodization,” Nice said. 

Contributed and analyzed by student, Viviana Razo, “World Census” by Marion Epting is a perfect example of how the Renaissance has influenced contemporary art. Razo explains in the exhibition label that the reinforced social structure of the Renaissance is mimicked in “World Census” as printed hands reach for butterflies, symbolizing the relationship between struggle and privilege.

Artwork from the Turner Gallery
Hana Beaty
From of Lies and Dreams is one of printmaking artwork that the students had chosen and it shows the colors of a human body.

The students involved in the creation of “Renaissanced” uncover distinct ties to the Renaissance throughout dozens of prints and lithographs in the Janet Turner Print Museum collection. 

The students’ unique perspectives and analysis offers a fresh look at what used to be an outdated renaissance state of mind. To experience “Renaissanced” in person, the exhibition will reside in the Janet Turner Print Museum until Feb. 29. 

Melissa Joseph can be reached at [email protected]