Printmaking Professor Illuminates Engraving

Printmaking Professor Illuminates Engraving

For the recent RISD Museum exhibition The Brilliant Line: Following the Early Modern Engraver, 1480–1650, Associate Curator Emily Peters and Professor of Printmaking Andrew Raftery teamed up to bring the age-old art of engraving to life for contemporary audiences. Working in his studio, Raftery painstakingly redrew and analyzed several engravings in the show to help create a video and interactive experience that allows visitors to visually understand the complex visual language of this exacting art form.

Although most people see and even touch an engraving every day (US currency and many stamps are engraved on steel), few artists actually still work in the medium today. In the Renaissance engraving was new, and asone of the world’s first reproducible art forms, presented breathtaking possibilities to the artists and artisans of the time to disseminate images of all types throughout Europe.

The exhibition demonstrated the rapid visual evolution of engraving during the height of the medium, from 1480 to 1650, when engravers made dramatic changes to refine their techniques as they responded to growing demand to reproduce artworks in other media. The Brilliant Line follows these visual transformations and offers new insight into the special inventiveness and technical virtuosity of Renaissance and Baroque engravers.

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