• Allegory and Interpretation in Heinrich Aldegrever's Series Virtues and Vices

      West, Ashley D.; Kline, Jonathan; Kline, Jonathan (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Heinrich Aldegrever (1502-1555) was a highly skilled and innovative printmaker working around the area of Westphalia during the sixteenth century. He used complex systems of allegory and adapted established visual codes, such as those of traditional heraldry, to engage his audience to unpack the meaning of his work and set himself apart from his contemporaries. However, due to Aldegrever’s stylistic similarities to both Albrecht Dürer and the so-called German ‘Little Masters’ working in Nuremberg, his prints are often given the short shrift by modern historians, who have considered his images unoriginal or derivative. Through a close study of Aldegrever's 1552 series of engravings depicting the Christian Virtues and Vices, this paper rectifies this scholarly oversight and attempts to restore Aldegrever's place among the great masters of the printed image in the generation immediately following Dürer. As this subject matter of Virtues and Vices was popular among printmakers and their targeted audiences, I compare Aldegrever’s series with similar works from his immediate predecessors and contemporaries to show that his Virtues and Vices are, in fact, more innovative than previously thought in their invocation of ancient texts and complex iconographic twists, and worthy of scholarly discussion on their own terms for values of effective marketability and artistic imitation.