Dec 27, 2005

The Descent from the Cross

The Descent from the Cross


after Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre

(French, 1713–1789)

Gilles Demarteau

(French, 1722–1776)

Crayon manner etching

In honor of Leona E. Prasse through The Print Club of Cleveland 1964.25

Catalogue raisonné: Le Blanc Vol.II.107.4



Gilles Demarteau was the first artist to master crayon-manner etching—the process seen here—which replicates the appearance of a red-chalk drawing. Rather than sketching with an etching needle, Demarteau used a tool called a roulette (a small, toothed wheel) to create tiny, regular dots that were then etched into the printing plate. The text along the lower margin of the image indicates that Demarteau’s print of the dramatic removal of Christ’s body from the cross reproduces a drawing by the well-known court painter to King Louis XV, Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre. With prints like this, Demarteau took advantage of the popularity of chalk drawings in the 1700s, selling his prints to members of a growing middle class who were interested in acquiring the trappings of wealth.

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