Pin It
Favorite

Etched in Steel 

by Sheri Boggs


The works in "Shakespeare Prints: Published by Boydell" would be amazing even if they had been limned in straightforward pen and ink. But these are prints, and the painstaking process of their creation adds another level of appreciation. "These prints are a tour de force of late 18th-century English engraving," explains Scott Patnode, director of the Jundt Art Museum and co-curator of the Shakespeare prints show. "The artist is only working with black ink and white paper, but look at the range of value from light to dark the artist was able to achieve. It's really stunning work."


The process is similar to drawing, in that the images are sketched into a steel plate with an engraving tool. Unlike relief printing processes, in engraving, the amount of engraving dictates the gray value in the finished piece. The ink slips into the cut marks and crevices of the etching, and then is transferred to the thick, heavy paper when the plate and paper are rolled through a press.


"You could equate the quality of engraving in this show with the engraving you might find on a dollar bill," says Patnode. "What's remarkable is when you realize that the artist is drawing this freehand in the steel. It's incredibly detailed and precise."


From an art history perspective, these prints are fascinating in their references to earlier works. In addition to the strong imagery of Renaissance "deposition" paintings in Richard III, there is also an emphasis on classical Greek and Roman sculptural art.


"These pieces are neoclassical, certainly in the sense of their treatment of the figures. Many are dressed in the fashion of Greek gods and goddesses, depending on the specific figures," Patnode says. "The furnishings have a distinct classical line as well. You can see it in the engravers' treatment of draperies and in the lines of the furniture."


While some of the pieces (particularly Henry VIII's deliberate visual reference to Hans Holbein's famous portrait of the portly, oft-married monarch) clearly refer to earlier styles of art, these are very much engravings of their own era. The faces and figures of the characters embody the sweeping heroism or passions of the Romantic Age, and in some instances, the piled-high hairdos could just as easily be found in the court of King George III as in the court of any Tudor king.


"They tend to be period pieces of that time," says Patnode. "The engravers definitely employ a baroque line in producing these works."

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Sheri Boggs

  • Beer and Branding in PDX

    • Sep 15, 2005
  • Nightlife- Jukeboxes of Note

    The Baby Bar 827 W. 1st Ave. * 471-1234 I love the Baby Bar for so many reasons -- the intimacy, the bartenders, the d & eacute;cor... But most of all, I love it for its jukebox. This is no hellhole of Sting/Celine Dion adult contemporary; it's a well
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • Rural Revolution

    All the farms I remember from growing up in North Idaho and Eastern Washington were not what you'd call stylish. In fact, what I do remember are blocky sofas covered in that ubiquitous mauve upholstery, copper Jell-O molds lining the kitche
    • Jun 23, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


marijuana


Comment


Publisher's Note


BUSINESS


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation