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Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn

5 Famous Etchings that Made Remarkable History

By Chelsea Reed

 Sometimes it’s just essential for us to go back and observe the masters, and the etchings by famous artists are no exception. These pioneers of art paved the way for new art styles to be made possible in both etching and painting in the art world. Etchings even transformed the book printing industry by allowing it to spread new ideas to larger numbers of people. While many more famous etchings are out there, we’ll focus on five today for the sake of brevity. Let’s take a look.

Knight, Death, and the Devil by Albrecht Durer

Etching technology had been around for about twenty years before, but Albrecht Durer was the German artist who really caused it to take off in the 1540’s. His remarkable talent in expanding ink tones and expressing powerful imagery is clearly seen in “Knight, Death, and the Devil,” one of his most famous pieces, and no doubt revolutionized the printing industry into what it is today.

Virgin Seated on a Cloud by Federico Barocci

 This serene etching by the Italian artist Federico Barocci is famous for its simple intimacy. It paved the way for many other famous etchings centuries later. Interesting enough, Barocci and other Italian artists were inspired to create etchings from their German neighbors. And Barocci’s works inspired Rembrandt himself! Barocci only made four etchings in his lifetime, but they became an important part of art history.

Self Portrait: Reflection– Lucian Freud

Renaissance artists weren’t the only masters who could catch living humanity on paper. Lucian Freud’s modern etchings are famous for featuring beauty with realistic flesh tones. Did you know that Freud held the metal plate for “Self Portrait” upright on an easel while working on it? Painting and etching share many technical traits, so the practice isn’t as far off as it seems.

Hundred Gilder Print by Rembrandt

Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn Somewhere along the line, you knew that we had to bring this up! One of Rembrandt’s most famous etchings in the whole world, it is also known as “Christ Healing the Sick.” It is said to have gotten the name ‘Hundred Gilder’ because of the large sum of money that was paid for an impression of this amazing etching. An impression is original art that an etching plate presses onto the paper. Each impression is an original work of art. Pretty cool, right?

The 347 Series– Pablo Picasso

 Did you know that Pablo Picasso made etchings, too? This interesting group of etchings known as the “347 Series” is considered to be among Picasso’s last great artworks that he signed by hand. With these special etchings, he proved that the technical brilliance and beauty professional artists produced through their artwork increased value in the art industry. They have been highly sought after by art appraisers and galleries ever since.

Aren’t these etchings amazing? Other artists such as Francisco Goya, Carolyn Cohen, and David Hunterhave created many etchings, too. Did you know that the Master artist David Hunter has a live etching demonstration at Seaside Art Gallery every year on Labor Day weekend? He creates his award-winning etchings live in front of you at the Gallery. It’s living proof that from the 1520’s to today, etching art has inspired and continues to inspire us for many years to come. See the art now today!

Chelsea Reed is a freelance copywriter. She writes articles, blogs, websites and online content from her base in North Carolina.