Quote of Note | Anthony Grafton

(Abraham Bosse)
Abraham Bosse, A Printer’s Workshop, circa 1642

“Historians of technology and science like Pamela Long and Pamela Smith have taught us to see the exciting potentialities of Renaissance workshops, from the houses of printers to those of smiths and apothecaries. They have revealed these shops…as ‘trading zones’ where skills and practices were swapped. In early modern Europe’s imagined society of orders, those who worked had dirty zones. But in the printing shop, for example, everyone had to think and everyone had soiled fingers. There the learned could learn about typesetting and compositors could learn to prepare texts for the press. The production of art is one province of this larger world.”

Anthony Grafton in “A Great Master at the Met,” his New York Review of Books essay on Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, on view through January 11 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art