Believed to have been engraved in the last year of his life, this drawing of Christ by Master E.S. is a wonderful example of his great skill with a Burin – an engraver’s chisel. Master E.S. was a goldsmith before he was an engraver and many believe it was his jewelry-making expertise that led to some of the innovations he made in printmaking. Being able to chisel a little deeper into the wood, Master E.S. was able to make more prints from each engraving. This engraving of Christ as Savior also show his skill in using short lines and cross-hatching to create dimension, shading and texture.
Wearing jewelry robes and looking like he is coming out of a window or alcove of some sort, Christ appears to be looking right at the observer. No matter how many times I look at this engraving from 1467, I keep being drawn to the dramatic eyes and the furrowed brow of Christ. Two tiny angels play instruments but almost appear as if they are part of the frame rather than present beings. Based upon the name of this work, it might be safe to identify this work as Salvator Mundi, or Saviour of the World; an iconic depiction of Christ with his right hand raised in blessing and his left hand holding an orb surmounted by a cross, known as a globus cruciger. In Master E.S.’s work, the orb does not have the cross on top. I’ll leave it to you to investigate any symbolism that could be attached to that.
This is also the first work of Master E.S. where I have seen such a bold inclusion of his initials. Virtually all of his works are signed but this time he has truly incorporated his mark within the work.
Little is known about this artist’s personal life but we have several other works by Master E.S. for you to enjoy.