(Netherlandish, active Italy, 1523–1605)
Engraving on antique laid paper
Support: Antique laid paper
Plate: 20.3 x 27.3 cm (8 x 10 3/4 in.); Sheet: 28.7 x 35.6 cm (11 5/16 x 14 in.)
The A. W. Ellenberger, Sr., Endowment Fund 2019.33
This engraving illustrates the process of making an engraving in the late 1500s, from carving the plate to inking and printing.
This engraving, made in 1591, is an important document of the printmaking process in the 1500s. The artist Johannes Stradanus portrayed the stages of making an engraving from right to left. First, the engraver carved the plate; then, it was inked and wiped. One man is shown pulling a plate from an acid bath (illustrating the etching process). Finally, the inked plate was printed on a large roller press. The finished prints were hung to dry. The engraving was one of a series of prints Stradanus made that documented important inventions of the period, ranging from the eyeglass, to distillation, to gunpowder.
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