Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Fantastic Alphabet, Meister E. S.

Whilst searching on the British Museum site, I cam across some plates from something called the Fantastic Alphabet by a German engraver named Meister E. S. These were produced in the mid 15th century as part of a series of 23 sheets: check out letter R, N and M
FantasticAlphabet2 The Fantastic Alphabet, Meister E. S.
FantasticAlphabet1 The Fantastic Alphabet, Meister E. S.
FantasticAlphabet3 The Fantastic Alphabet, Meister E. S.
I think these are amazing! There seems to be a recurring theme of dogs and other creature gnawing at the characters feet / coat tails – I seriously wonder what inspired him to produce these! Some quick research on Wiki reveals that “ Master E. S. (c. 1420 – c. 1468), (previously known as the Master of 1466) is an unidentified Germanengravergoldsmith, and printmaker of the late Gothic period. He was the first major German artist of old master prints and was greatly copied and imitated. The name assigned to him by art historians, Master E. S., is derived from the monogram, E. S., which appears on eighteen of his prints (variants appear on others). The title, Master, is used for unidentified artists who operated independently. He was probably the firstprintmaker to place his initials on his work.”
Ilove the way he has tinted the eyes in red in the ‘M’ – just adds to the eccentricity and craziness of these wonderful prints! Back to my original point; this discovery sent me off an a tangent searching for other works of the Meister on the web which bore some fruitful results (check this site out). So; if you are working on a project, dont worry if you get distracted as you can often come up with some fantastic finds

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