Friday, July 22, 2011

Grotesque Alphabet #2

Another series of engravings, this time depicting a "lower case alphabet with grotesque figures."

The prints were made by Israhel van Meckenem in approx 1465-1475, and he copied them from Master ES, a German engraver and draughtsman also of the 15th century.

Sadly the British Museum database states that no complete series of these prints is known, so we only have a few to admire. I did, however, chase up a few more prints by Master ES (via Meckenem), including this awesome playing card, the "ace of helmets":

I'm not entirely sure what this is - I just know that I love it! Extreme body hair + tentacles + cudgel is a definite winner in my book. The description calls him a "wild man," which I suppose is fitting.

You can see more prints inspired by Master ES here, but I think the one above is the best.

I also found a nice collection of 'grotesque masks' on the database. This one is my favourite so far:

Aloisio Giovannoli (1550 - 1618) was an Italian printmaker and miniaturist who did a whole bunch of mask engravings. I appreciate this one in particular, because it's worn by a lady. Where is she going in a mask like that? Maybe a monster masquerade? I like it.

Ah well, back to work.


  1. 'Extreme body hair + tentacles + cudgel' - :)

  2. I fancy doing a similar alphabet with people who annoy me :) Just kidding, just kidding (or am I?).