The Chalcography collection of the Louvre in Colombo

The Alliance Française de Colombo presents a lithographic exhibition of engravings selected by the Louvre Museum at the National Museum in Colombo: Edouard Denis Baldus, Claude Mellan, Robert Morris, Franz Gertsch etc. The opening of the exhibition will be on Tuesday 13th December at 6 pm. The works will be exhibited till the 13th of January 2006.

This exhibition “Chalcographies du Louvre” travels around the world. It was exhibited in Korea in October, in Taiwan in November and will move on to Pakistan in January.


The Chalcography collection of the Louvre, containing all prints made from plates held by the museum. The catalogue of engraved plates from which the chalcograph collection is made, prints of which are sold at the Louvre Museum. Etymologie : Greek, bronz and engraving.

Why the choice of engraving?

The choice of engraving as a medium to bring about a new confrontation between classical models and contemporary creation underlines the difficulties we set out to address. Theoretically speaking, the confrontation between creation, interpretation and invention is integral to the very nature of engraving as an art. Now that every other technique in the graphic arts has been profoundly remoulded, with video art - which dematerialises a work to the point of delivering the idea alone - emerging as perhaps their most recent avatar, engraving cannot be severed from its roots in a tradition based on techniques that people take up as they might “take the cloth”. Engraving is a craft, a trade - as the 19th century academicians would have it - whose exemplary nature is inextricably linked to the traditions of the great masters.


But, just as Mellan, Daubigny, Audran or Demarteau continually invented their own language to interpret the great masters, the contemporary artists who, for the Chalcographs of the Louvre, have engaged in their own dialogue with the classical heritage entrusted to the museum, have asserted the same need for a new language whose permanence - like that of an identical alphabet underlying distinct forms of syntax - is as enduring as the traditional technique of engraving.

Interpretation and invention

It has often been said that engraving is born of interpretation, and there is no doubt that the process of interpretation is inherent to engraving as an art.


As a graphic process in which the principle involves making incisions on a support for subsequent printing, the art of printmaking incisions on a support for subsequent printing, the art of printmaking lies in the appreciation of a model. The first of these models is the mirror image made by the artist on a block of copper, steel or wood. During the process of carving into the block of copper, steel or wood. During the process of carving into the block - whether slowly and laboriously with a graver, instantaneously in the case of etching or photographically in the photogravure technique - what is delivered by the hand of the artist is always the mirror image of the finished print. Knowing the future effect of the incision, once reversed onto paper, requires an appropriate sense of interpretation. An engraver will always be one who interprets.

Online 29/05/2011

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