Bartrum, Giulia

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Female. Education: Sydney University, B.A., 1961; Victoria University (New Zealand), M.A. (with honors), 1962; Auckland Training College, teaching diploma, 1963, diploma in educational management, 1974, LTCL TESOL, 1982.


Office—Department of Prints and Drawings, The British Museum, London WC1B 3DG, England.


British Museum, London, England, assistant keeper of prints and drawings, 1979—.


Catalogue of the Year Award, Art Newspaper/AXA Art Exhibiton, 2003, for Albrecht Dürer and His Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist.


(Coeditor, with John Rowlands) The Age of Dürer and Holbein: German Drawings, 1400-1550, British Museum Publications (London, England), 1988.

German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550, British Museum Publications (London, England), 1995.

(Editor) Albrecht Dürer and His Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist, British Museum Publications (London, England), 2002.


A curator and assistant keeper of prints and drawings at the British Museum, Giulia Bartrum specializes in the work of German printmakers and artists in the northern Renaissance, especially the hugely influential Albrecht Dürer. Her published works come from the catalogs that accompany major exhibits of these prints and drawings, and these works constitute important resources for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the life and influence of Renaissance artists and their work. In 1988 she assisted John Rowlands in putting together The Age of Dürer and Holbein: German Drawings, 1400-1550, a catalogue "replete with sound opinions," according to Christopher Wood, who reviewed it for Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies.

Bartrum provides her own take on the museum's vast collection of German etchings in German Renaissance Prints: 1490-1550. "For specialists in Renaissance prints, there are few surprises in Giulia Bartrum's book," asserted Sixteenth Century Journal reviewer Linda C. Hults. "However, for those students of art history or of Early Modern Europe who want an excellent scholarly introduction to this highly prolific and innovative period of German printmaking, with recent literature well represented in the essays and entries, Bartrum's book is a must." In addition to covering the influence of individual artists and regional schools, Bartrum offers an organizational structure and introductory essays that provide useful information on the wide use of engravings for Reformation propaganda, the importance of the Emperor Maximilian's patronage of this "lesser" art form, and the phenomenal landscape etchings of the Danube School. In addition, she covers some of the humbler etchings whose purpose was social satire or burlesque. "A particularly generous feature of the catalogue," adds Renaissance Quarterly contributor Jane Campbell Hutchison, "is the author's decision to call attention to areas in want of further research."

One name is practically synonymous with German printmaking of the northern Renaissance, and in Albrecht Dürer and His Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist, Bartrum and her collaborators tell the remarkable story of this artistic giant, a story that in fact extends far beyond his own era and well into today. As with her other works, this one accompanied a major exhibition of the artist's prints, adding a great deal of background understanding to the works themselves. As Times Literary Supplement reviewer Theodore K. Rabb noted, "He is just the right artist to warrant the homage of an institution that is not a gallery but does have one of the world's great collections of drawings and prints, and the Museum has accordingly done him proud." Revered in his own time by artists and philosophers alike, Dürer was later eclipsed by the great Italian masters such as Michelangelo and Raphael, only to reemerge as a cultural icon for nineteenth-century German nationalists. "The enthusiastic reception the artist inspired, and the way that different generations have made him their own, is the central concern of the beautifully illustrated catalog," explained Rabb in his review. Thus the book covers a wide spectrum of pieces by Dürer's imitators and admirers, including reproductions on porcelain and even banknotes. It also provides an interesting look at the hardheaded business sense of this unusually practical artistic genius, who was willing to produce lesser but more profitable works, rather than tie himself to demanding patrons. In addition, it includes an essay by Nobel laureate Günter Grass on Dürer's haunting Melancholia.



Renaissance Quarterly, spring, 1997, Jane Campbell Hutchinson, review of German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550, pp. 327-328.

Sixteenth Century Journal, fall, 1997, Linda C. Hultz, review of German Renaissance Prints, 1490-1550, pp. 853-855.

Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, April, 1991, Charles Wood, review of The Age of Dürer and Holbein: German Drawings 1400-1550, pp. 471-475.

Times Literary Supplement, January 17, 2003, Thomas K. Rabb, "Bestseller of the Apocalypse," review of Albrecht Dürer and His Legacy: The Graphic Work of a Renaissance Artist, pp. 16-17.*