Page images
PDF
EPUB

other artists of that time. After with his works, may be seen in the which period it died away, and we second volume, under the article hear no more of it. And that this Schauflein. The story, that Peter style of workmanship was not the Schoffer invented the art of engravmost ancient, we need only refer to ing on copper, and taking imprefthe oldeit dated prints, and beyond fons from plates of that metal, dues them to the brais plates on tombs, not bear any fimilitude to the truth; and other fpecimens of the art, for neither have we the least plausible centuries past, and we shall find the reason given, in support of such an strokes promiscuoully laid upon affertion. them, forming the thadows, and “ With respect to the edition crofled or recrossed without the lcait of Ptolemy, printed at Rome in restraint.

the year 1478, we must take notice, “ According to what has been that the plates were not engraved by faid, it appears, that 1465 is the Italian artists, but by Conrad Sweyncarlieft date affixed to any print, heym, and Arnold Buckinck, both produced by the Germans, except of them Germans. The former, as indeed one mentioned by Sandrart, appears from the dedication, first in his Academy of Painting, which brought, not only the art of taking he says he had seen, bearing date ten impressions from engraved plates, years earlier, and marked with a but that of printing also, to Rome, cypher, composed of an H. and an, where he died, three years after the S. joined to the cross-bar of the H. commencement of the work, which precisely in the same manner as that was at length completed by the latused by Hans Schauflein. But ter; and the plates for this book are even the moft fanguine of his own supposed to have been begun about countrymen cannot help allowing the year 1472. It will doubtlets their fufpicion of a mistake in the secm very extraordinary, that the date; and some have said, it should art of engraving should have been have been written 1477, which o- discovered at Florence to early as 'thers think is still too early. It is 1460, and yet unknown twelve

readily allowed that an older master years afterwards at Rome, where it than Schauflein did exist, who used was first introduced by foreign arthe same monogram; but his prints tilts. It appears from this circum. in general bear the evident marhs of stance, that though Finiguerra, Bobeing copies from others, and by ticelli, and Baldini, all of them Flono means, from the manner of their rentines, poflefled the secret, they execution, justify the supposition of did not divulge it fpeedily; and their being the works of a master, hence, as a good presumptuous greatly anterior to the year 1500. proof, it may be urged, that such The subject of the print mentioned Italian engravings, as are to be by Sandrart, is a girl careifing an found prior to the year 1472, are old man while the steals his purse by the hand of one or other of these from him. This subject, it is well artists. If this be granted, and known, was frequently engraved, great plausibility, at leait, is on its both on copper and on wood, by a lide, it will follow that the origiyariety of ancient masters; but, ex- nals, from whence the plates il. cept Sandrart, I never heard of any and III. are takeni, are so. These one who had seen the print alluded curious and valuable specimens of Os A fuller account of this artiit, ancient cugravings, which, I be.

ver.

lieve, are unique, must have been feribe these curious plates, I thould executed as early as the year 1464 ; · yet be tempted to suppose the origia very Mort interval, from the time, nal of the plate No. V. was really which Vafara gives us for the in- the production of Finiguerra's gravention of the art; and are contiderably more early than any hither- - We have now seen what preto produced, though all the great tensions the Italians have laid to the foreign libraries have bien repeat- invention of the art of engraving, edly searched for that purpose. and have proved, by producing un. Two of them, I thought, were suf-doubted specimens, that it did exist ficient to shew the style in which nearly about the time stated by Va.. they are executed; but the set con- fari. With respect to what he has fiits of eight plates, namely, the said concerning the art of taking seven planets, and an almanack by impressions from engraved plates beway of frontispiece, on which are ing invented by Finiguerra, the ina, directions for finding Easter from genious observations of M. Heinethe year 1465 to 1517 inclusive ; ken are well deserving of notice. and the dates regularly follow each " According to Vafari, fays he, and other, which plainly proves, that others, his countrymen, it was the there can be no mistake with respect goldsmith Finiguerra who invented to the first; and we may be well as- this art, about the year 1460 ; and sured, in this case, the engravings perhaps he was not mistaken, if he were not antedated; for the alma- speaks of Italy only. It is very nack of course becaine less and less pollible, that the art of engraving valuable every year. A full de- ihould have been long practised in seription of all these engravings Germany, and unknown in Italy. will be given in the seventh chap- The Italians, thote of Venice exter of this Etay.

cepted, had very little correspon" If we are inclined to refer these dence with the Germans. For this plates to either of the three Italian reaton, Finiguerra might discover artists before mentioned, we mall this art, without knowing that it naturally suppose thein to be the had been already invented in Gers work of Finiguerra, or Baldini ; for many. All the merchandizes of they are not equal, either in draw. this country were sent from Anting or compolition, to thote ascribed werp to the Italians, who were to Boticelli; which we know at least much better acquainted with the were designed by him ; and as Balu people of the Low Countries than dini is exprefly said to have worked those of the other provinces. For from the designs of Boticelli, it will this cause, Vafari supposed that appear most probable, if they are Martin Schoen, who was born at to be attributed to any one of these Culmback, and resided at Colmar, three artists, they belong to the was a Fleming, and constantly calls former. The reader must be left to him Martin of Antwerp.” judge for himself, whether he con- “ We shall now proceed to exaceives them to be sufficiently well mine, what claim the Germans can executed; for he is tò remember, bring, prior to that of the Italians; that Finiguerra is spoken of by Va- and in that case we shall have re

as a man of no small ability. course to their works. The earliest I own, after all, if I could but tell dated print I ever saw produced by to whom one might reasonably a- this school, is copied, plate I. and

N 3

the

the date is evidently 1461. And plates for the monuments; but as we shall see, however faulty it may I have said before, I do by no means be with respect to the drawing, or suppose, that this print is the first defective in point of tafte, the me. specimen of engraving, even if we chanical part of the execution of it mould allow its author to have been has by no means the appearance of the inventor of the art. There are being one of the first productions of other plates, some of which I thall the graver. We have also several specify hereafter, that, I think, bear other engravings, evidently the evident marks of priority, particuworks of the same master, and con- larly those of the master, who used cerning which the same observa- the Gothic initials F. and S. sepa. tions may be justly made. Besides, rated by a very singular mark, and the impressions are so neatly taken who is called by abbé Marolles, from the plates, and the engravings Francois Stofs, or Stoltzhirs; but so clearly printed in every part, that, upon what authority does not apaccording to all appearance, they pear. could not be executed in a much " Martin Schoen, a painter, enbetter manner in the present day, graver, and goldsmith, who was with all the conveniences which the born at Culmback, and resided copper-plate printers now poffefs, chiefly at Colmar, is said, with great and the additional knowledge they appearance of truth, to have work, must necessarily have acquired, in ed from 1460 to 1486, in which the course of more than three cen. year he died. This artist was ap: turies. Hence we may fairly con- parently the disciple of Stoltzhirs ; clude, that, if they were not the for he followed his style of engray. firit specimens of the engraver's ing, and copied from him a set of workmanship, they were much less prints, representing the paffion of the first efforts of the copper plate our Saviour. So that, allowing printer's ability. Not that plates Stoltzhirs to have preceded his dil. being badly printed is any certain ciple only ten years, this carries proof of their antiquity ; but we the æra of the art back to 1450, can hardly imagine, that the first without having any recourse to the attempts to take impressions from fabulous relation of some authors engravings shouldimmediately have upon this subject, who speak of one arrived at perfection, and that at a Luprecht Rust, as the master of time when we cannot suppose them Martin Schoen, absurdly declaring, to have been aware of every cir: that he was an engraver on wondo cumitance necessary to insure suc: Admitting therefore, that such an çess; especially when we find it no artist really did exist, it is by no easy matter, in the present day, at means reasonable to fuppose, that all times, to procure good impref. he hould teach the art of engrave fions from our plates.

ing on copper to another, when he The artist to whom we owe was not, according to their own ac this fingular curiosity was, without count, acquainted with it himself. doubt, a goldsmith. And indeed, Martin Schoen never engraved on it is certain, that the art of engrav- wood, as far as I have heard; but ing plates, for the purpose of print. his works on copper, it is well ing, first originated with those inge. known, are very considerable. pious mechanics, or else with the 6 lsrael van Mechelen, or Mec engravers, who executed the brass kenen, whose engravings are as

multifa. multifarious as those of Martin course, his most early productions Schoen's, was born at Mecheln, a are the rudeft, and manifest the small village near Bocholt, where least skill ; but all of them are ehe chiefly resided. The latter is a qually defective in point of drawtown fituated upon the banks of the ing, especially when he attempted Aa, in the bishoprick of Munster, to express the naked parts of the in Westphalia. He died, A. D. figure. 1523. According to the tradition

“ It is certainly true, that the of the inhabitants of Bocholt, the manner of engraving, adopted by father of this artist was a goldsmith, Martin Schoen, differed exceedingly and his baptismal name was Israel. from that of Israel van Mechelen. Hence M. Heineken concludes, that The works of the former are more he also was an engraver, and that a firm and determined, and, upon the great part of the prints, attributed whole, greatly superior. Let any to the fon, belong to him. " An one take the trouble of examining attentive examination (concludes the print representing St. Anthony that author) will make it appear, carried into the air by the demons, that all these prints are not by the which was first engraved by Martin fame hand. I am almost certain, Schoen, and afterwards copied by that Israel the father engraved fe- Israel, and the question will be reaveral, those especially which have dily decided in favour of the for. the greatest marks of antiquity, and mer, without adding the anecdote, are executed in a rude Ityle, ap- recorded by Vafari, that Michael proaching nearest to the work of the Angelo was so pleased with this en goldsmith.” “ Nor (adds he) will graving, which is truly a masterI deny, but that the son may have piece of Schoen's, that he copied it commenced originally as a gold- in colours. The inferiority of Ilsmith, by armorial bearings, foli- rael van Mechelen, when compared ages, crosses, and other ornamental to Martin Schoen as an artist, is works. But as he was a painter as by no means any proof of his priwell as an engraver, and a man of ority in point of time. The only tolerable abilities in the art of de- advantage which M. Heineken gains fign, considering the time in which by making the father of van Mehe lived, it is not at all astonish- chelen an artist, as well as himself, ing, that ainong the prints pro- is a greater length of time for the duced by his graver, we should find execution of those works attributed fome by no means wanting in me- to him ; and upon this supposition rit." How far thefe obfervations he says, “I place the engravings may be considered as just by the ex- of the two Israels between the years perienced collector, I cannot pre- 1450 and 1503." The fon was certend to say . for my own part, I see tainly a more modern artist than no reason to divide the works of this Martin Schoen; and we have a artist; nor can I find, upon strict print by him, which bears so late a examination, any other difference date as 1502. He was contempoin the prints, which I have seen ate rary with Albert Durer; and some tributed to him, than what one have fupposed, that he visited that might reasonably expect to find in artist at Nurenberg. Sandrart atthe works of any one man, who tributes to Israel va Mechelen the with his own hand performed fo invention of engraving, and tells great a number of engravings. Of us, that his first prints were exe

N 4

cuted

cuted about the year 1450. If this lists are depicted with St. Jerom, account. indeed be true, it must and three other saints. Upon the make much in favour of M. Heine. delk of St. Jerom, who is feated and ken's conjecture, concerning the en- writing, is the date 1466. There gravings of the father ; but the ar- are several copies of this plate, and gument at present unfortunately one of them by Israel van Mechewants sufficient proof to be admite len, apparently not greatly posteted as absolutely conclusive ; and, rior to the original, which probably until some more satisfactory account was executed by the same mailer as fhall be produced, I cannot help the print, dated 1461, mentioned declaring, that I am of a different already in the present chapter. opinion. The earliest dated print What has been said will, I which I have seen by Israel van doubt not, sufficiently prove, that Mechelen, is in the collection of there is the greate it caton to beDr. Monro. It represents the Vir- lieve, that the art of taking impresgin and Child with four angels. fons from engraved plates was pracThe engraving is rude, and coarser tised in Germany betore it reached than the works of that artist are in Italy ; especially if we agree with general; and the date is 1480. He Vafari, who exprefly declares it engraved, however, I believe, fome- did not appear in that country bething earlier than this period. In fore the year 1460; when, on the the same collection is preserved a other hand, we may, I think, with circular print, where the Deity ap- the greatest justice, place it at leaft pears surrounded by an ornamental ten years earlier among the Gera border, in which the symbolical re- mans,'? presentations of the four Evange,

MISCEL

« PreviousContinue »