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The spread of printed works of art


At the end of the fifteenth century there were many opportunities for owning a high quality work of art.  Printed engravings, be they woodcuts or burin engravings, were a particularly effective way. Dürer’s works were no exception and between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century were widely disseminated and known in society. The many attestations (Fara, 2007) of Dürer’s works in prestigious collections of important Florentine families, including the Doni, suggests a truly widespread diffusion of these sheets of paper.

In this case reference was made to the method of selling Dürer’s work which, if on the one hand it was traditionally the prerogative of merchants who mainly approached painters searching for subjects, on the other hand it was strengthened by street vendors who signed a contract and were provided with a price list, with the recommendation to sell at the highest prices. It is easy to imagine how this system helped the widespread dissemination of prints of Dürer’s subjects and increased the spread of this kind of works of art. 


On display