Engraving the Ephemeral

Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery

Engraving the EphemeralBartel Beham,Genius Flying Above a Landscape, 1520, engraving. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 1985.2.106

A companion exhibition to The Brilliant Line: Following the Early Modern Engraver, 1480–1650, Engraving the Ephemeral  considers some of the methods that European engravers used during the 16th and 17th centuries to represent atmospheric and transitory conditions.

Because they are constantly changing and in motion, representing ephemeral effects posed problems for engravers, who essentially worked in black line. Artists developed numerous techniques and a rich visual vocabulary of dots, dashes, and lines, and sometimes untreated paper to convey such effects as fire, wind, rain, darkness, lightning, and clouds.

The exhibition is drawn primarily from the collection of the Block Museum,and is curated by Maureen Warren, a graduate student in the Northwestern University's Department of Art History. An illustrated brochure accompanied the exhibition.