Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/618

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translate painting. The early engravers were often original artists who worked out designs of their own, but in course of time a commercial reason prevailed over originality. It was found that a well-known painting assured the sale of an engraving from it beforehand, whereas an engraving which stood entirely on its own merits came into the world without advantages, and had its own way to make. Besides this, the engraver who copied a picture saved himself all the trouble of thinking out and composing the design which he found ready to his hand.

This is why we have to-day so very few original artists in steel engraving and etching; although there has been a great revival of etching in the last twenty years, especially in Europe, and many artists have acquired great skill in this mode of engraving (Hayden in Europe and James D. Smillie in America being considered the best in their respective countries), it has nearly all been copying.

We can not but deplore this subordination of engraving to painting, and when we look back to the great engravers of past times, who composed and invented their own works, it is with a feeling of regret that they have left so very few successors; for steel engravings have found a place in the hearts of the people of this country that no other class of art can ever replace.

Before leaving this subject of early engravers and their works, let us look at the influence exerted upon them by Raphael and Rubens.

In Italy, Marc Antonio was considered one of the great artists and copied Dürer, translating more than sixty of his woodcuts in metal (for Dürer was also a wood engraver).

It is one of the most remarkable things in the history of art that a man who had trained himself by copying northern work—little removed from pure Gothicism—should have become, soon afterward, the great engraver of Raphael, who was much pleased with his work and aided him by personal advice. Yet, although Raphael was a painter and Marc Antonio his interpreter, we must not infer that engraving had as yet subordinated itself to painting.

Raphael himself evidently considered engraving a distinct art, for he never once set Marc Antonio to work from a picture, but always gave him drawings, which the engraver might interpret without going outside of his own art; consequently, Marc Antonio's works are always original engravings. A school of engraving was thus founded by Raphael through Marc Antonio, which cast aside the minute details of the early schools for a broad, harmonious treatment.

Another school—which marked a new development—was known as the engravers of Rubens. That great painter under-