For most of us, portraits are a commonplace. We have grown accustomed to seeing yearbook photos, family portraits on holiday cards, and all those ‘selfies.’ But in the early seventeenth century, when Anthony van Dyck began his ambitious series called the “Iconography,” only the most powerful members of society—nobles, aristocrats, diplomats, and other VIPs—had their portraits distributed on a wide scale. Van Dyck had a novel idea; his print series included a self-portrait, portraits of other artists, art dealers, and collectors in addition to monarchs and statesmen. The idea of an artist depicting him or herself in print—in a reproducible, transportable, and comparatively inexpensive medium—had an enduring legacy in European and American art.
Maureen Warren, Curator of European and American Art, on her recent collaboration with Victoria Sancho Lobis for the exhibition "Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and the Portrait Print" (Art Institute of Chicago; March 5, 2016–August 7, 2016), an upcoming lecture at the Krannert Art Museum Council Spring Luncheon titled "Not Just a Pretty Face: Printed Portraits and the Legacy of Anthony van Dyck," and the associated exhibition of portrait prints from the the Krannert Art Museum collection April 25–May 15, 2016.