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Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment

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An A to Z exploration of the Enlightenment quest for understanding and change, as revealed in the era’s prints and drawings

Edited by Edouard Kopp, Elizabeth M. Rudy, and Kristel Smentek

Publication date: October 25, 2022

ISBN: 9780300266726
334 pages, 7.5 × 11 in.
168 color images
Paperback with flaps (sewn bound)
Published by Harvard Art Museums
Distributed by Yale University Press

Watch a trailer for this book on Vimeo!

Named by New York Times critic Jason Farago as a Best Art Book of 2022

Are volcanoes punishment from God? What do a fly and a mulberry have in common? What utopias await in unexplored corners of the earth and beyond? During the Enlightenment, questions like these were brought to life through an astonishing array of prints and drawings, helping shape public opinion and stir political change. Dare to Know overturns common assumptions about the age, using the era’s proliferation of works on paper to tell a more nuanced story. Echoing the structure and sweep of Diderot’s Encyclopédie, the book contains 26 thematic essays, organized A to Z, providing an unprecedented perspective on more than 50 artists, including Henry Fuseli, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Francisco Goya, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, William Hogarth, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and Giambattista Tiepolo. With a multidisciplinary approach, the book probes developments in the natural sciences, technology, economics, and more—all through the lens of the graphic arts.

Edouard Kopp is the John R. Eckel, Jr., Foundation Chief Curator at the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston; Elizabeth M. Rudy is the Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Curator of Prints at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; and Kristel Smentek is associate professor of art history in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

With contributions by J. Cabelle Ahn, Elizabeth Saari Browne, Rachel Burke, Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Anne Driesse, Paul Friedland, Thea Goldring, Margaret Morgan Grasselli, Ashley Hannebrink, Joachim Homann, Kéla Jackson, Penley Knipe, Edouard Kopp, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Heather Linton, Austėja Mackelaitė, Tamar Mayer, Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth M. Rudy, Brandon O. Scott, Kristel Smentek, Phoebe Springstubb, Gabriella Szalay, and Christina Taylor

The exhibition Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment is on view at the Harvard Art Museums from September 16, 2022 through January 15, 2023.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the exhibition is provided by the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Robert M. Light Print Department Fund, the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Support Fund, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The catalogue was made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.


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