MASTER of Balaam
(active 1440s)


German or Burgundian French engraver, who probably worked in either the Upper Rhine region or Burgundy. He is named after the engraving Balaam on his Ass and the Angel (Dresden, Kupferstichkabinet). Also attributed to him are some ten prints, each of which survives in a single example. Little is known about the artist's life. His prints are elegantly executed, showing that he had mastered the technique to perfection. This technical skill is undoubtedly due to his original profession: like many engravers of his time, he started life as a goldsmith. Most of the small, often circular engravings recall niello work and may have been preparatory sketches for goldsmiths.