METALPOINT DRAWINGS

 

“The simplicity of metalpoint drawing means there is nothing to hide behind”.

Lee Teter

 

HANDS (metalpoint over charcoal heightened with white), Drawn by Leonardo da Vinci over five hundred years ago.

 

Drawings in Silver and Gold

Metal point drawings are made of made of precious metal lines as thin and light and precise as a spider’s web.

Metalpoint drawings are primitive and simple. All it takes to make metalpoint drawings is a small piece of metal that will leave a mark, a surface to draw upon, and an artist. This simplicity comes with some limitations: Metalpoint provides no forgiveness for lack of skill, no gimmicks useful for distraction, and no power to impress the mind with color or mass. Even so, celebrated art from the hands of old masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, and Rembrandt, remain as evidence that the medium can provide some of the world’s great art.

by Lee Teter
THE PAINTER (metalpoint) Native American painting a face design discovered in the collections of Museum of Civilization, Canada.

Metalpoint is essentially colorless. Old masters sometimes enriched their drawings by tinting their drawing surface blue, pink, green, yellow, brown, or other colors. Sometimes that color was intended to provide a mid-tone foundation for their lines, sometimes to imitate the warmth of skin. Sometimes they painted the drawing extensively with pigments suspended in water, oil, or other mediums. Mostly they let their webs of metal lines hold fast to their art without the help of color.

by Lee Teter
THE PAINTER (metalpoint by Lee Teter) Metalpoint drawings are often relatively small. Some of the best from hundreds of years ago measured only 2 to 3 inches.

Metalpoint lines go onto a surface in exceedingly fine strokes that influence the amount of area an artist is able to cover. The physical presence of a Metalpoint picture is most often established by the power of composition and content rather than size of the image, so the power of the art depends on the artist. The value of the art, however, depends on the heart that opens to meanings and messages manifested by silver and gold.

 

 

 

 

RESTING DOG (metalpoint) A. Durer. This drawing is hundreds of years old.