MASTER of Balaam
(active 1440s)

St Eligius in His Workshop

c. 1450
Engraving, 115 x 185 mm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This engraving provides a detailed description of the goldsmith's workshop. The patron saint of gold and silversmiths is seated in the centre, chasing a metal cup. An assistant on the left is drawing wire through the die he is standing on. A die contains holes of different sizes, with the wire beefing drawn though even-smaller holes until it was a slender thread. Behind the wire drawer is the bellows of the furnace in which metal was melted, soldered and gilded. An assistant at the workbench on the far right is vigorously hammering a sheet of metal. The man beside him appears to be adding detail to the crude chasing with a pointed chisel known as a punch. Behind them is a rack with a wide assortment of the hammers, files, metal shears, chisels and punches or gravers used in metalworking.

The attribution is not certain, this engraving has also been attributed to the Master of the Weibermacht and the Master of the Gardens of Love.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.