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Masterpieces of West-European Engraving of 15 - 18th centuries from the collection of the State Hermitage.
From Schongauer to Goya

2 November 1999 - January 2000

The exhibition represents not only development of the art of printed drawings from its starting point and further on, but also the richest in Russia Hermitage collection of engravings. Because of the specific features of the collection itself some of the names and periods are dominating at the exhibition as well as in the Museum in general. The exhibition begins with the works of Master E. S. and of Martin Schongauer belonging to the period when Late Gothic art of printed drawings was blossoming in Germany. There are some early examples of Italian engravings by Mantegna and his school belonging to the period in the development of this art corresponding to the time when High Renaissance started. The Hermitage possesses a wonderful collection of 300 works of Albrecht Duerer, the greatest European engraver. The exhibition tries to demonstrate his creative activities that is why works of Albrecht Duerer predominate at it. The Hermitage collection of works of Marcantonio Raimondi helps to understand why the fame of the greatest Italian master of a burin, who made copies from the engravings of Duerer and Raphael, was equal to the fame of Duerer. The Museum stores wonderful examples of engravings by Hendrick Goltzius - a great engraver of the epoch of Mannerism who was as much innovative in versatile techniques as he was in style and genre. The collection of Rembrandt's etchings bequeathed to the Hermitage by Dmitriy Rovinsky, a leading specialist in engraving, is one of the most full in the world. It has unique prints and amounts to more than 600 engravings. This is the reason why at the exhibition the epoch of Baroque is represented with the etchings of Rembrandt. French school of the 17th century is represented with etchings by Jacques Callot that occupy a significant place in the collection. Almost shockingly extravagant are works of Jaellange, a remarkable master of the turn of the 16 - 17th centuries, whose talent of the most brilliant engraver of all times was only revealed in this century. The Museum possesses a wonderful collection of the etchings of Claude Lorrain. The 18th century invented a lot of new engraving techniques. Their variety is demonstrated by engravings from France that enjoyed full authority in the artistic life in Europe at this time. Its peculiar style demonstrated in the18th century English school famous in the art of engraving for its masters of mezzotint, unmatched by anybody from the Continent. The Hermitage cllection of mezzotint, bought by Catherine II, is the best in the world outside England. Of great interest is the collection of Venetians of the18th century - Tiepolo family, Canaletto, Piranesi - that can compete with the best European collections. The exhibition is concluded with works of Francisco Goya, a genius Spaniard, who marked the turn of the 18 - 19th centuries. The Hermitage possesses most precious prints of his early etchings from Velazquez and unique copies of the ‘Caprichos' series some examples of which are on display. The exhibition is organised in memoriam of Yurij Alexandrovich Rusakov (1926 - 1995), a brilliant expert in the art of engraving, the chief of the Department of Engraving of the State Hermitage (1966 - 1995). The exhibition ‘Masterpieces of West-European Engraving of 15th - 18th centuries from the Hermitage collection' was planned at the beginning of 1990-s and Yurij Alexandrovich took an active part in selection of exhibits. But unfortunately opening was held after his death.

The Virgin and Child in a Yard
Martin Schongauer
Larger view

Doctor Faust
Larger view

Three Maries
Jacques Bellange
Larger view

Sitting Magus, Boys and Four Figures
Giambattista Tiepolo

Larger view


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