Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Heinrich Aldegrever 16th Century Figure Engraving

Pictured is a 1530 engraving by Heinrich Aldegrever titled Musicus Scaevola vor Porsenna.

He produced 300 engravings and three etchings on iron during the sixteenth century. He was a painter, printemaker and goldsmith. He made his first engravings in 1527, evidently influenced by Albrecht Durer his signature resembles Durer's. He spent most of his efforts on portrait painting and printmaking. He became a supported of the reofrmation and of Martin Luther. 

Lots of prints remain but few paintings.

This is an illustration of the Roman Myth of Musicus Scaevola appearing before the Etruscan King Lars Porsenna.

Gaius Musicus Scaevola was probably a mythical Roman youth heralded for his bravery. When the Etruscan King held Rome under Siege he sneaked into the Etruscan camp to kill the king. He killed the wrong man. Appearing before the king when apprehended he declared that he was as  ready to die as to kill. 

Porsenna ordered him cast into the flames, he accepted his punishment placing his left hand into the fire. For his bravery Porsenna freed him. After that he was called Scaevola or "Lefty," after his maimed left hand.

Engravings by Heinrich Aldegrever on Ebay.

Wikipedia link to Livy's History of Rome.

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