what engraving method did durer use in the knight death and the devil

The work is a 9.6 inch by 7.5 inch black and white illustration created with a copper engraving technique. The artist etched the design in reverse/negative onto a sheet of copper and then used the plate to transfer the work with ink onto paper. Works produced by this method, are referred to as the Old Master prints.
The main focus of the work is a knight in armor mounted on a horse. The knight wears a sword and a long lance wrapped with a fox’s tail over his shoulder. He is accompanied by a dog. In the mid-ground a skeletal figure lurks on a pale horse. He wears a spiky crown and a snake around his neck and holds up an hourglass. Trailing the knight is an anthropomorphic goat-like figure. The background is a tangle of dead trees. Far off in the distance we see a walled city. In the bottom left foreground is a skull and a plaque bearing the monogram of the artist and the date, 1513.

German culture was strongly influenced by Italy, especially by the Italian humanism. Books by ancient authors and modern Italian scholars came from the South and spread across Germany. In the beginning of 16 th century humanist circles existed in major German cities, propagating classical literature and art. Influenced by humanism, German artists started to move away from Gothic traditions and assimilate the experience of the Italians. They were especially interested in studying the laws of the perspective and the proportions of the human body.
Saint Jerome in His Study is among the best Dürer’s creations. All the structure of the engraving reflects the Renaissance mentality of the artist. It is a cabinet of a scholar: a large room, full of light, and an old man in the far end of the room, at his desk. Everything is so calm and harmonic in the picture that the man, the space and surrounding objects seem to be parts of a whole. The many items of everyday life do not overshadow the importance of the story. Quite the contrary, such attributes as a skull and an hourglass, symbols of transiency of life, convey a philosophical sense to the whole picture. Even the room itself, full of objects as it is, seems transformed by the sunlight coming through the windows. Dürer does not infringe upon the specificity of the copperplate engravings, but he manages to achieve new and unexpected effects. Making thick lines, very thin ones, dotted ones, enhancing or reducing the number of strokes, the artist not only creates an illusion of shapes and volumes, but even conveys the texture of different materials: silk, animals’ hair, wood, the smooth surface of the bench. He uses short parallel dashes to depict the vibrant patches of sunlight on the bench, on the table, on the floor. With his admiration for the objects surrounding the man, Dürer is a typical representative of the Northern Renaissance. The light plays an important role in all three ‘master stamps’. In Saint Jerome it creates the mood and has a special meaning.

What engraving method did durer use in the knight death and the devil
In 1870 Friedrich Nietzsche gave a print of the engraving to Richard Wagner. The work was significant to Nietzsche as a representation of a “brave future” [19] and its central subject a “symbol of our existence.” [20] As such, he gave a copy to his sister on the eve of her emigration to Paraguay. [19] After the First World War, writers Thomas Mann and Ernst Bertram described the work as close to what Nietzsche could teach about the fate of Germany; the embodiment of the Renaissance and the teachings of Martin Luther, and as described by Gary Shapiro, they believed it was “invoked in order to intensify the sense of resolute determination in the absence of all hope.” [21] Although Durer did not meet Luther, his writings indicate that he admired him highly, and the engraving may well have been intended as a tribute to him. [22]
The work was created while Dürer was in the service of the Emperor Maximilian but was not a commission and does not contain an overtly political message. Instead it reaches back to a medieval sense of morality, and is replete with Gothic imagery. [6] [12] The engraving bears similarities in mood and tone to one of Dürer’s other great prints Melencolia I. The knight seems resigned, and his facial features are downcast. His gloomy posture is in contrast to the sturdy look of his horse. While his armor may protect him against the surrounding demons, the skull on a stump is held in front of the horse and the fall of the sand held by death in the face of the knight. According to writer Dorothy Getlein, “there is a sense of obsolescence about the knight accompanied by Death and the Devil.” [13] The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter noted that the composition followed soon after Dürer’s beloved mother died a painful death. [14]

What engraving method did durer use in the knight death and the devil
Signature:
Knight, Death and the Devil is signed and dated by Albrecht Durer and at the bottom left of the work was the inscription ‘S. 1513’.
Knight Death and the Devil

Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), in addition to being an excellent painter, draftsman, and creator of perceptive naturalist watercolors, is generally acknowledged as the greatest practitioner of the medium of engraving. The son of a goldsmith, Dürer began as a maker of woodcuts for book illustrations in his native Nuremberg. Deeply curious about the ideas and working methods of Italian artists, he made two trips to Italy, once in his early twenties and once in his mid-thirties; lessons learned there immediately influenced his works. Dürer’s success in marketing his woodcuts and engravings in the first two decades of the sixteenth century established his reputation and fame across Europe at a time when very few artists were individually known. Later, his fascination with proportion led him to become an art theorist, publishing his own treatises in the 1520s.
The prints are also linked because they have long been seen to stand for the three modes of virtuous living: active, contemplative, and intellectual. Knight, Death, and the Devil is generally seen as epitomizing the active life—the Christian knight bravely facing the perils of the real world. There is evidence in Dürer’s own letters that his engraving was inspired by the writings of the great church reformer Erasmus of Rotterdam; Erasmus’s Enchiridion Militis Christiani (Handbook of the Christian Soldier), first published in 1502, calls on the Christian to be a combatant for God in an inhospitable world, with faith as his chief weapon. Dürer’s knight is assailed by the devil, a hideous composite of various animals, and Death, a rotting corpse who holds an hourglass as a reminder of life’s brevity. But the knight and his mount are unswervable from their narrow path through the dark valley, and the magnificent horse dwarfs Death and the Devil, showing their feebleness in the face of faith. The oak leaves twined in the horse’s mane and tail further symbolize fortitude. 1 The knight’s armor is also emblematic of the rider’s faith, and resonates with the many military metaphors to be found in scripture, like St. Paul’s exhortation to believers to “put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). 2 The fortress on the mountaintop signals the ultimate goal of the Christian’s earthly journey—the Kingdom of Heaven.

References:

http://germanprints.ru/articles/durer_and_prints/index.php?lang=en
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight,_Death_and_the_Devil
http://www.artble.com/artists/albrecht_durer/engravings/knight_death_and_the_devil
http://museum.cornell.edu/exhibitions/albrecht-d%C3%BCrer-master-prints
http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/68809/15-spooky-facts-about-albrecht-durers-knight-death-and-devil

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