Silverpoint: A Rare Art Form

Silverpoint, or Metalpoint, drawing (the two terms are often used interchangeably) is perhaps the most challenging of graphic techniques, and its practice is often limited to the work of specialists. However, it has been used to extraordinary expressive effect by some of the most famous and canonical artists in history.

As the name suggests, it is a medium that uses a thin stylus of a soft metal, most commonly silver mixed with copper – although gold, brass, and pure copper serve equally well. The pointed or round-ended tip of the stylus leaves no mark on a plain piece of paper, except to scratch its surface, but once the sheet has been given a preparatory ground, it will deposit a shiny metallic line.

During the Renaissance, silverpoint was one of the most commonly used mediums for young apprentices to practise their drawing skills before they advanced on to oil painting. Today, however, it is an almost forgotten medium, with only few contemporary artists practising it. (More…)