chapter  9
21 Pages

Speaking Images and Speaking to the Images

Inscriptions in Religious Prints Published by Antonio Lafreri
WithAlexandra Kocsis

This chapter analyses selected examples from Lafreri’s stock and contributes to the study of his religious prints with detailed observations of the lettering of these sheets. All the analysed prints consist of two main parts: the printed image, and Latin texts inscribed on the copper plate and printed along with the image. Through the selected examples, the chapter shows that the inscriptions on high-quality single-sheet prints can help us understand how these paper objects worked. The key purpose is to identify innovative trends in Antonio Lafreri’s religious prints and relate them to the existing traditions of devotional prints. Moreover, the chapter discusses a newly discovered link between a Jesuit treatise and Lafreri’s prints, which crystallises the connection between printmaking and the religious culture of the Counter-Reformation. It explores how sixteenth-century religious prints created a personal relationship between the image and its beholder.