Martyrdom of Saint Lucy, c. 1613-1616
Etching and engraving
The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, the Winton Jones Endowment for Prints and Drawings, and gift of funds from the Print and Drawing Curatorial Council 2008.55
Not on View
Distinguished by their figural elegance, compositional intricacy, and sheer bravura, Jacques Bellange's celebrated etchings are the final expression of northern Mannerism. He follows in the footsteps of such virtuoso printmakers as Hendrick Goltzius and Jan Muller. In contrast to the exacting, polished engravings of Goltzius and Muller, however, Bellange executed his prints primarily in etching, a subtler, more delicate medium. He employed a highly inventive technique, producing rich gradations of tone through layers of crosshatching and multiple immersions of the copper plate in the acid bath. For the flesh, he used the unusual technique of stippling the surface with fine dots.
The Martyrdom of Saint Lucy ranks as one of Bellange's most ambitious prints in scale and composition, with at least 37 figures squeezed into the page. The dizzying crowd that swirls around Lucy competes with the poor, dying saint for our attention.
Image: Public Domain. The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, the Winton Jones Endowment for Prints and Drawings, and gift of funds from the Print and Drawing Curatorial Council