Freyda Spira is an Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she specializes in Northern Renaissance and Baroque prints, drawings, and illustrated books. She holds a BA from Barnard College, an MA from Columbia University, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Her exhibitions at the Met include: The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William Ivins and Hyatt Mayor (2016); Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay (2016); Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings (2012); and at the National Gallery in Washington, Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475-1540 (2012).

Etcher Sketch: A Conversation with Nadine Orenstein and Freyda Spira About “The Renaissance of Etching”

Albrecht Dürer, Landscape with a Cannon (1518), etching, 8 ½ x 12 5/8 inches. Courtesty of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.111).

The idea of using acid to incise lines in a printing plate arose in 15th-century Europe, most probably as an outgrowth of innovations in the production of ornamented armor.Despite the many technical challenges presented by the chemistry and metallurgy of etching (noxious fumes, iron plates that rusted, the unpredictable interactions of materials), artists across the continent took to it, and in the process changed the way prints looked and functioned. Drawing through an acid-resistant varnish or wax ground allowed for freehand gestures that engraving did not. This actively experimental period is the subject of the Metropolitan Museum’s current exhibition “The Renaissance of Etching,” Read More

Johann Michael Püchler the Younger: Micrography in Print

(Fig. 1) Johann Michael Püchler, Portrait of Martin Luther (ca. 1680–1702), engraving, 95 x 267 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Buried in a volume that functioned as both an album amicorum and a collection album amassed by the Swiss politician Hans Wilpert Zoller (1673–1757) is an engraving by the early 18th-century artist Johann Michael Püchler the Younger Read More