The Renaissance Engravers
145 pages
English

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145 pages
English

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Description

This ambitious work allows the reader to discover the art of engraving in Europe from the 15th to the 16th century. The engravings of the Renaissance masters are considered models of artistic perfection, often studied and frequently copied.

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Publié par
Date de parution 09 décembre 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783107216
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 23 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0574€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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Page layout: Stéphanie Angoh
© Confidential Concepts, worldwide, USA
© Parkstone Press International, New York, USA
Image-Bar www.image-bar.com
© Sirrocco, London (English version)
ISBN: 978-1-78310-721-6
All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world.
Unless otherwise specified, copyright on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers. Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case, we would appreciate notification.
Stéphanie Angoh



The Renaissance Engravers
15th–16th Century
Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts
Contents
Introduction
Plates
Catalogue
Bibliography
Introduction
In Russia, active interest in the art of the European print developed in the course of the eighteenth century, and it was then that large scale collecting of impressions began. The Hermitage collection was formed mainly during the latter part of the eighteenth and the early years of the nineteenth century. The prevailing taste of the period favoured, above all others, works by the leading masters of the high Renaissance; these were regarded as models of artistic perfection, to be carefully studied and sedulously imitated. Best represented in the Museum’s collection are prints of the Italian and the German schools. They include a great many engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi and artists of his circle, and a large number of chiaroscuro woodcuts of the sixteenth century; also, many superb impressions of prints by Albrecht Dürer, and a multitude of examples of the art of the so-called Kleinmeister. Yet for all that we have to admit to some lacunae which can be attributed to limitations of taste of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century print collectors. The Hermitage possesses no impressions dating from the beginning of the fifteenth century, which would illustrate the earliest phase in the history of print-making, and has only a few works from the second half of that century. The collection includes no examples of Netherlandish fifteenth-century engraving; a very small number of sheets by the Italian artists of the quattrocento; and hardly any French fifteenth-century prints – these, for some reason, failed to attract Russian collectors.
The choice of prints for this volume has naturally depended on the general character of the collection, and cannot but reflect its limitations. No claim is made to be presenting a coherent picture of the evolution of European graphic arts during the Renaissance. The main aim of the book is to illustrate every aspect of the art of the print in fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe, while attempting, at the same time, to give an idea of the scope and content of the Hermitage collection.
Earliest among the prints included in this volume are three works by Master E. S., the renowned German engraver active from c. 1450 to 1467 in Switzerland and the Upper Rhine valley, somewhere between Constance and Strasbourg. These are The Virgin and Child on a Grassy Bench between St. Barbara and St. Dorothy (L. 75), St. John on Patmos (L. 151), and The Queen of Shields (L. 235) from The Small Set of Playing Cards .
Plates


1. Master E. S. (fl. c. 1450–1467), The Virgin and Child on a Grassy Bench between St. Barbara and St. Dorothy . C. 1450. Engraving. 142 x 102 mm. Provenance: Amsterdam; Emperor Alexander I, 1809; Count; Piotr Suchtelen, 1836; Inv. No. 149672; Lehrs 75; Geisberg, Die Anfänge , p. 82
The Virgin and Child on a Grassy Bench between St. Barbara and St. Dorothy belongs to the artist’s early period, the beginning of the 1450s. The print was repeatedly copied in the fifteenth century, and was even reproduced in oils. Its popularity seems chiefly due to the choice of subject which contemporaries found very appealing. St. Barbara and St. Dorothy were both martyred virgins who suffered death by beheading for remaining true to their Christian faith. They are shown standing on either side of Mary, who is seated upon a grassy bench cut from turf and enclosed by planks, which is symbolic of her purity. By representing the Virgin Mother of God with two virgin saints, the artist sought to extol Christian martyrdom and to honor the cult of virginity, greatly venerated in those days.


2. Master E. S. (fl. c. 1450–1467), St. John on Patmos. C. 1460. Engraving. 205 x 142 mm. Provenance: Amsterdam; Emperor Alexander I, 1809; Count Piotr Suchtelen, 1836; Inv. No. 149673; Zanetti, 2; Lehrs 151; Geisberg, Die Anfänge , p. 100; Master E. S. Exhibition 33
St. John on Patmos (L. 151) is one of the best surviving prints by this artist. It is notable in particular for the rare perfection of its rendering of plant and animal motifs, which are in no way inferior in precision and vividness to the master’s best works in this field, such as his pictures of animals on playing cards. Though in fact belonging to Master E. S.’s middle period, the engraving bears marks of deliberate archaization: to imitate the effects of earlier prints, the artist rejects the method of cross-hatching which he had already employed in some of his works, and confines himself to the techniques used by his predecessors at a time when engraving on metal was still in its infancy.


3. Master E. S. (fl. c. 1450–1467), The Queen of Shields. C. 1463. From The Small Set of Playing Cards. Engraving. 100 x 70 mm. Provenance: Amsterdam; Emperor Alexander I, 1809; Count; Piotr Suchtelen, 1836; Inv. No. 151380; Passavant 206; Lehrs 235/I
As regards its technical aspect, The Queen of Shields (L. 235) is typical of the master’s productions of the early 1460s, in that it shows the use of punches, and a deeply cut outline combined with very light hatching. Only a strictly limited number of good impressions could be taken from a plate prepared in this manner. Soon after Master E. S.’s death, the plate had to be reworked; this was done by Israhel van Meckenem. Apart from the Hermitage sheet, there is only one other surviving impression of The Queen of Shields printed from the author’s plate in its original state.
In spite of a certain rigidity of attitude, the figures of Master E. S. are not devoid of grace and charm. His work stands out from the highly expressive German engraving of the period as a lyrical version of Late Gothic, tinged with a mood of gentle melancholy.


4. Anonymous German Master of the Fifteenth Century, The Passion Series: Sheets 1–8. C. 1470–80. Reversed copy after an engraving by Master E. S. (Lehrs 201). Engraving. Diameter 26 mm. Provenance: Amsterdam; Emperor Alexander I, 1809; Count; Piotr Suchtelen, 1836; Inv. Nos. 151369–151376; Undescribed, unique
The style of Master E. S. was influenced by that of the sculptor Nicolaus Gerhaert van Leyden, who introduced into the plastic art of Germany the dynamic effect of draperies. Paintings by Rogier van der Weyden and his followers, as well as pre-Eyckian miniatures of the Franco-Flemish school, also had a share in the formation of his style. In his turn, Master E. S. exerted a strong influence on the art of the period. This is attested to by the existence of a large number of copies of his prints, not only of German but also of Netherlandish and Italian production. Certain plastic motifs originating with him came to be widely used in sculpture and the applied arts. The series of roundels engraved with the subjects of The Passion (L.) in the Hermitage collection, published in our book – supposedly, the only surviving copy of a sheet (L. 201) by Master E. S. dating from the 1470s – is further evidence of his exceptional popularity with the public of his day.
Martin Schongauer (c. 1450–1491) was the first of the German engravers who deserves to be called a genius. His oeuvre is more completely represented in the Hermitage collection than the work of Master E. S. Included in this volume are several of Schongauer’s prints, dating from different periods and giving a general idea of the evolution of his style.


5. Martin Schongauer ( c. 1450–1491), Christ as a Man of Sorrows between the Virgin Mary and St. John. C. 1471–73. Signed in monogram. Engraving. 200 x 158 mm. Watermark: Gothic p with staff and flower. Provenance: Academy of Fine Arts, 1931; Inv. No. 272042; Bartsch 66/II; Lehrs 34/II
Christ as a Man of Sorrows between the Virgin Mary and St. John (L. 34), created between c. 1471 and 1473, is probably the earliest of all known prints by Schongauer. As was often the case in Netherlandish art, a mystical scene is set here within architectural framing, as if seen through a church window: an allusion to the idea that the temple is the House of God.


6 . Martin Schongauer ( c. 1450–1491), The Adoration of the Magi. C. 1470–75. II for The Life of the Virgin series. Signed in monogram. Engraving. 252 x 170 mm (cut). Watermark: Gothic p with flower. Provenance: Piotr Semionov-Tienshansky, 1910; Inv. No. 154664; Bartsch 6; Lehrs 6/II; Shestack 39
The Adoration of the Magi (L. 6) and The Flight into Egypt (L. 7) for The Life of the Virgin series (L. 5-8), executed between c. 1470 and 1475 – two other early works by this master – are also marked by strong Netherlandish influence. Certain compositional elements of the former recall the works of Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes and Dirck Bouts: we find here similar types, a great number of figures, and a distant landscape presented as if seen from an elevated viewpoint. But his impressions of Flemis

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