Printed Items: Turning the Pages at the Art Institute of Chicago

Single-sheet prints, printed books, and books with photographic plates, can be nearly as unique as original manuscripts and sketchbooks, and so some of them are now available through Turning the Pages. These printed objects from the sixteenth to the twentieth century represent some of the rarest artworks in the United States.
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These dynamic, rough-hewn linocuts from a 1948 limited-edition portfolio were originally produced by Méndez to serve as full-screen backdrops for the credits of the 1947 feature film Río Escondido (Hidden River). The first of several collaborations with director Emilio Fernández, the film provided Méndez with a platform to create a “moving mural” capable of reaching new audiences. In the film, a young, idealistic schoolteacher, played by María Félix, is sent by the government to the remote, impoverished village of Río Escondido, where a cruel local boss controls the town’s resources. The teacher’s resistance to the boss’s authority serves as an inspiration to the townsfolk, who eventually overthrow their oppressors. Both the film and the prints highlight the fragile reality in which rural Mexicans lived and underscore the importance of popular resistance as a means of social change.

Lucas Cranach's patron, the Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony in sixteenth-century Germany, asked the artist to illustrate a catalogue of his famed collection of saintly remains so that visiting pilgrims and dignitaries could take a souvenir of the experience home with them.

While we encourage personal discovery and interpretation of works of art in our care, the commentaries associated with the works in My Collections have not been reviewed or approved for accuracy or content and are expressly not endorsed by the Art Institute of Chicago.

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