Documentaries on Prints in the Bibliothèque National

For the past six years, Maxime Préaud, curator-in-chief emeritus of the Département des Estampes et de la Photographie of the Bibliothèque Nationale, has been working with filmmaker Bertrand Renaudineau and Gallix Productions to create a series of documentaries exploring the great masterpieces of the BN’s collection of prints.

Called Impressions fortes, these 35-minute films each focus on one work by the chosen artists, such as The Knight, Death and the Devil by Albrecht Dürer, The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Jacques Callot and The Holy Face by Claude Mellun (among others by Goya, Rembrandt, Piranesi…). The films use HD technology to get incredibly close to the originals in stunning detail and also teach the rudiments and artistry of the various printmaking processes. Art historians discuss the works and place them into their historical and artistic context.

Each documentary also features a contemporary French printmaker whose work is intimately related to that of the old master in order to show the range and wealth of contemporary printmaking.

Six films have been produced so far and a seventh is in production, dedicated to the 17th century engraver Sébastien Leclerc and his famous print The Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts.

Each is available on DVD or can be downloaded via the website, where more information is also available. English subtitles are available. Please visit for more information.

If anyone would like to organize public showings of single films or several in the series, please contact Bertrand Renaudineau at