Claude Mellan (1598-1688). L'écriture de la méthode
Claude Mellan, Agrippine (detail), [around 1671], burin, 404 x 286 mm, Musée Jenisch Vevey – Cabinet cantonal des estampes, Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex, private collection. Photograph Olivier Christinat

Claude Mellan (1598-1688) Scripting the Method

from 30 October 2015 to 7 February 2016

Lovers of printmaking know Claude Mellan (1598-1688) as one of the leading lights in copper engraving. As versatile as he was intelligent, the French artist invented an entirely new idiom consisting of a network of soft, airy lines in which light plays the defining role. Progressively dispensing with the systematic use of cross-hatching, he develops a cold chisel technique based simply on varying the closeness and thickness of his lines. Using this approach of scripting the method, which requires the image to have been preconceived long before in the artist’s mind, Mellan produces vibrant portraits of his friends, places surprising images of saints amid the landscape, and skilfully recreates in copper the contours and lustre of antique marble. The Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex has been fortunate to receive a gift comprising almost the entirety of Claude Mellan’s work.

Bequest Isabelle and Jacques Treyvaud Collection
An exhibition organised by the Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex