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Visual literacy

concept of visual literacy is important today, as people absorb information
from all kinds of media. Visual literacy involves understanding the meaning of
images–sometimes multiple meanings– both in terms of integrating words and
pictures, and ‘reading’ pictures separately from texts.

exhibition Picturing Words: the Power of Book Illustration
focuses on the power of pictures to
inspire, inform, and influence viewers. We explore the ways that pictures reach
audiences, sometimes more directly than text alone. Illustrations can explain
complicated ideas at a glance and can even take precedence over words. They
extend the meaning of books beyond textual limits and invoke readers’
imaginative faculties. They aid the dissemination and acceptance of scientific
discoveries, technical advances, and artistic innovations – all fields that
are represented at the Smithsonian and supported by the holdings of Smithsonian
Institution Libraries

addition, the exhibit demonstrates how illustrations are produced from wood
blocks, engraving plates, and lithographic stones, as well as the application
of photography to pictorial printing. One of the most popular features of the
exhibition is a video demonstrating three printmaking processes– relief,
intaglio, and lithography– edited from a longer program produced by the
Minneapolis Institute of Arts that is available online through YouTube.

Helena Wright

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