Master ES, Virgin and Child Enthroned Between Two Angels, a copperplate engraving

Germany, around AD 1466

The Virgin holds a sceptre and is enthroned as Queen of Heaven, while the dancing Christ Child supports the orb that symbolizes his sovereignty on earth. The dove of the Holy Spirit crowns the top of the triangular composition.

The engraving is similar to a more elaborate print of the enthroned Madonna by the same artist, set in a chapel and surrounded by pilgrims, that is dated 1466 and signed with an 'E'. That engraving was commissioned by the Swiss monastery at Einsiedeln, where for 500 years pilgrims to the chapel shown in the print, had been granted a remission of their sins. Master ES made versions in at least three sizes which the monks sold to pilgrims for different prices. He then perhaps engraved the current plate, removing all references to the monastery, to sell the prints on his own account.

Twenty-four engravings survive with either of the monograms, 'ES' or just 'E' or 'S', a goldsmith's convention first applied to prints by this artist. A further 300 prints can be attributed to the master on grounds of style, such as the cross-hatching which he introduced to engraving. ES was probably a goldsmith living in the Upper Rhineland who created a thriving and influential business in the new technique of engraving copper plates for printing.

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More information


D. Landau and P. Parshall, The Renaissance print 1470-155 (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1994)

A. Griffiths (ed.), Landmarks in print collecting (London, The British Museum Press)


Height: 210.000 mm
Width: 136.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1845-8-9-48 (Lehrs II, 151, 82)



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