The lecturer said that art holds as important a place in the life of a nation as politics or literature. It may seem strange to select such a small and comparatively insignificant branch of art as engraving for the subject of a lecture, yet only a small portion of engraving-namely the way in which the German engravers made use of their lines in shading, will be spoken of.
Engraving dates from the fifteenth century, when a remarkable intellectual activity was noticeable in Germany. During this period engraving gradually increased in importance, until it was looked upon in Germany as the leading branch in art. This was in a great measure owing to the scarcity of orders for paintings, and hence, artists, in order to support themselves, were driven to take up the then popular engraving. Still the German engravers retained their love for paintings, and their pictures resemble painting in the mode of treatment, in contrast to the Italian engravings, which are merely reproductions of pen and ink drawings. This desire of the Germans to make their engravings look like paintings led to a very important advance in the art. Hitherto all the lines, with the exception of the outline, had been straight, but now the German school of engraving began to curve their lines, in order better to express the modelling. This resulted in great improvement in style. Mr. Koehler then showed by means of the stereopticon, photographs of several engravings illustrating this difference in line-shading, the originals of which will be on exhibition next Sunday at the Boston Art Museum.