chapter  1
21 Pages

Multiplicity and Absence

The Negative Evidence of Interactive Prints
WithSuzanne Karr Schmidt

By looking at the clues left in texts, physical evidence, and creative renderings of now-gone objects, one can better establish the ways the many functions of Renaissance-era prints manifested themselves. Studying these minute absences within the context of the explosion of early modern ephemera and its later reception reinforces the uniqueness of print survivals of every kind. This chapter’s first main example of a lost interactive print deals with an annotated, so-called Veronica or Vera Icon woodcut. More universally applicable even than the errant clergy was the inescapability of mortality, and flap prints often commingled with sexual tension. The second main example of the chapter takes the form of one such deadly reminder. The scientific instrument print, an equally ephemeral genre that aimed to count its possessor’s remaining time on earth more accurately, is the chapter’s third main example of applied printmaking with significant attrition.