Before Dürer
9/28/2022–1/22/2023

The Engraving Becomes Art

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The engraving is one of the oldest techniques of printing and offered goldsmiths and painters new creative possibilities in the 15th century. The Städel Museum presents some 130 important German and Netherlandish engravings from its own holdings.

Your Visit

Your Visit

Exhibition

About the exhibition

The Städel Museum is devoting an exhibition to the engraving in its early days as an artistic pictorial medium. The show will present some 130 important German and Netherlandish engravings of the fifteenth century, and thus retrace the development of the medium from its simple beginnings to ever more sophisticated creations. Outstanding prints by Martin Schongauer, Wenzel von Olmütz, and Israhel van Meckenem, but also by anonymous early engravers such as the Master ES, the Master with the Banderoles, and the Master b(x)g will be on view. A selection of early engravings by the great German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer will round out the presentation.

The engraving is one of the oldest techniques used in Europe to print images. An intaglio printing method, it developed around 1430/1440 out of the art of metal engraving in goldsmith workshops. On the Upper and Lower Rhine, and not long afterwards in Italy as well, goldsmiths and painters began engraving religious and secular depictions on copper plates from which they then printed them on paper. Thus reproduced, the compositions served purposes of private devotion or as models, not only for other engravers, but also for painters, stained-glass makers, and sculptors. A new pictorial world gradually evolved and spread in the form of prints. This imagery owes its special appeal—which is as strong as ever today — to its simple but nonetheless effective graphic pictorial language, its immediacy, and its fascinating narrative qualities.

Curator: Dr. Martin Sonnabend (Head of Prints and Drawings before 1750, Städel Museum)

Picture: Martin Schongauer, Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons (Detail), around 1470, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Photo: Städel Museum

Gallery

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    Martin Schongauer, Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons, around 1470

    Martin Schongauer

    Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons, ca. 1470
    Engraving, 2nd state (of 2), 311 × 227 mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum

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    Master of John the Baptist, Saint Bartholomew, ca. 1440–1460

    Master of John the Baptist

    Saint Bartholomew, ca. 1440–1460
    Engraving, drypoint, 163 x 82mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum

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    Albrecht Dürer Adam and Eve, 1504

    Albrecht Dürer

    Adam and Eve, 1504
    Engraving, 249 × 192 mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum

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    Martin Schongauer, The Virgin and Child in the Courtyard, ca. 1475

    Martin Schongauer

    The Virgin and Child in the Courtyard, ca. 1475
    Engraving, 166 × 112 mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum

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    Master E.S., Two of Birds, from the Large Playing Cards, ca. 1463–1467

    Master E.S.

    Two of Birds, from the Large Playing Cards, ca. 1463–1467
    Engraving, drypoint, 104 × 82 mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum

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    Israhel van Meckenem, The Juggler and the Woman, from the Scenes from Everyday Life series, ca. 1490

    Israhel van Meckenem

    The Juggler and the Woman, from the Scenes from Everyday Life series, ca. 1490
    Engraving, 163 × 108 mm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum

Programme

Programme

Art Talks

Costs: 16 Euro (includes entrance fee)
Tickets: Soon available at our online shop

Visualizing the Word: Copperplate Engraving
Thu, 12/8/2022, 7.00 pm

English is your native tongue and you’d like to talk to others about art in that language? Or you’re a non-native speaker and would be interested in building on your knowledge of English outside your professional environment? With Art Talks, we are offering a program of guided tours providing a relaxed atmosphere in which the fine arts will inspire you to perfect your English. The prerequisite is good command of English; specialized knowledge is not required.

Individually bookable offers

Tours are available in English, German, French, Italian, Russian, Dutch and Japanese. Please contact us to arrange your group visit even if you do not wish to book a guided tour.

Booking and advice
+49(0)69-605098-200
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Tip

Tip

  • Study Room
    Prints and Drawings

    The Städel Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings oversees a collection of some 100,000 drawings and prints dating from the Late Middle Ages to the present. Artworks on paper cannot be placed on permanent display because they would be damaged by prolonged exposure to light, but are placed at the visitors’ disposal for viewing purposes in the Study Room of the Department of Prints and Drawings upon request.

    Opening hours & Contact

Exhibition views

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

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    Exhibition view
    Photo: Städel Museum - Norbert Miguletz

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