The Penitent Magdalene (Magdalena Poenitens) from The Large Landscapes ca. 1555–56

The exhibition ‘The Renaissance of Etching’ will trace the first 60 years of the etched print through some 125 etchings created by both renowned and lesser-known artists, displayed alongside a selection of drawings, printing plates, etching tools, illustrated books, and armor.

The Met’s exhibition will begin at the end of the 15th century with the origins of etching in the workshop of the German printmaker and armor decorator Daniel Hopfer and then move on to explore the ways in which a range of artists from Germany, Flanders, Italy, and France began to experiment with the new medium. Among the pioneers of the medium are some of the greatest painters of the Renaissance, including Albrecht Dürer, Francesco Parmigianino, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

"When etching on paper was first introduced, the ease and access of the technique enabled artists to expand the reach of their work, and exchange ideas and images in a new way. This exhibition will offer a fascinating examination of this trailblazing moment, and an opportunity to appreciate a time in which the sharing of images—something we are so clearly immersed in today—underwent a revolutionary technical advancement."
Max Hollein, Director of The Met

The exhibition concludes with the period around 1560, when the technique became professionalized and the Netherlandish print publisher Hieronymus Cock employed etchers to create prints after designs produced by other artists. This period marked a transition from the use of etching as a means of experimentation to its standardization and expansion by printmakers and print publishers.

The exhibition is organised by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Albertina Museum. Following its presentation at The Met, the exhibition will be on view at The Albertina Museum in Vienna (February 12–May 10, 2020).

More information

Exhibition 'The Renaissance of Etching': October 23, 2019–January 20, 2020


The Penitent Magdalene (Magdalena Poenitens) from The Large Landscapes, ca. 1555–56, Johannes van Doetecum and Lucas van Doetecum after Pieter Bruegel the Elder, publisher Hieronymus Cock, collection The Met (CC0)