Delacroix, EugeneUn Forgeron (A Blacksmith)

Un Forgeron (A Blacksmith)
Etching by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863)

This is quite a well known print and is said to mark the beginning of the concept of the peintre-graveur (the artist engraver) that is, the idea that printmaking could be used as a ‘painterly’ medium. Delacroix is known as the leader of the French Romantic movement as this is certainly evident here in a image full of drama, strength and emotion. One of the most significant elements of the work is Delacroix’s decision to use aquatint (rather than line etching), which allows for more tonal variation He was almost certainly influenced by having seen Goya’s Caprichos, which had been the first masterpieces in the medium in the 1790s. His subject choice is interesting considering his distaste for progress and dubious regard for the developments of science and industrialisation in the nineteenth century.