German (1470-1528) Knight Death and the Devil
246mm x 189mm.
Gift of the Max Kade Foundation, 1969.0091 View full recordWhat to Look for:
Engraving is done with a very sharp tool called a burin. The burin is held in the palm of the hand and pushed through the copper engraving plate. As the burin moves through the plate it removes a small amount of copper that twists away like an apple paring. Engraved lines display several idiosyncrasies that help distinguish them from etched or drypoint lines. First of all the lines are almost inevitably elegant, gently arcing strokes that start as a point, swell to a larger width, and taper off again. The width of the line can be modulated by pressure or by repeated engraving. The burin also lends itself to little flicks and stabs that have a characterstic triangular shape (see knight's helmet for a good example).Dürer developed a sophisticated system that uses engraved lines almost like the lines of a topological map to describe forms (notice the way the lines in the horse's neck define the shape of the neck as well as its tonality). The logical conclusion of this technique is the tight vocabulary of reproductive engraving. Dürer engraved passages that resemble a staggering array of textures and surfaces (compare, for example, the hair of the dog, the surface of the armor and the leather of the knight's boot.