Jan Brueghel (1568-1625)
Etching by Anthony Van Dyck and engraving by an unknown printmaker, seventh state (of seven)
This impression is the last recorded state of the plate. Since the changes made in 1645 by Gillis Hendricx the background has been completely finished in engraving. In comparison with the two earlier states the lines appear a good deal darker. This is due to the plate being re-etched, i.e. bathed again in acid in order to deepen the lines so to allow them to carry more ink. The plates had become worn through the pressure exerted on them in printing presses. It is not, therefore, through any additional work by another printmaker that the quality of Van Dyck's hand has been lessened, but rather through excessive printing. The portrait completely loses the subtle contrasts apparent in the earlier states. The lines in the hand have a patchy appearance, which reveals that the recesses in the plate are less able to carry ink effectively.
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