20 North Main St (also enter on 224 Benefit Street) Providence, RI 02903

Open today 10 am–5 pm

a resource about art and its making

Analysis of Early Modern Engravers

  • RISDM 2008-18

Grégoire Huret, Neptune and Thetis Carrying the Riches of the Empire to Cardinal Richelieu, 1626-1642. Walter H. Kimball Fund.

Engravings are objects of exquisite beauty and incomparable intricacy whose visual language is composed entirely of lines. From 1480 to 1650 Renaissance and Baroque (Early Modern) engravers made dramatic and rapid visual changes to the technique of engraving as they responded to the demands of reproducing artworks. The Brilliant Line follows these visual transformations and offers new insight into the special inventiveness and technical virtuosity of Early Modern engravers.

Andrew Raftery, an accomplished engraver and Associate Professor of Printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design, analyzed how Early Modern engravers worked within established line systems and also diverged from them. This site demonstrates Rafter’s analysis and invites you to explore how 16th and 17th century engravers used carefully ordered systems of marks to create their images.

Raftery also recreated the process of the 16th century engraver, starting with the selection of a model drawing and its subsequent transfer, engraving, and printing. View the video demonstration to explore the process.

Explore now