Eric Gillthe Engravings

Christopher Skelton, Author David R. Godine Publisher $75 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87923-853-7
A man torn between the spirit and the flesh, English book illustrator, craftsman and engraver Eric Gill (1882-1940) attempted to capture God's presence both in a Madonna and Child and in pictures of couples making love. Gill's freewheeling, humanistic interpretation of the Gospels still startles and provokes; his illustrations for The Canterbury Tales , Henry VIII and the Song of Songs combine lively drama, warmth and wit. His silhouette portraits can be seen as precursors of photorealism but he generally avoided naturalism, opting instead for powerful, subtly patterned designs and a marriage of image with printer's type. This compilation of engravings reveals an artist with an exquisite touch, whether at work on commercial logos, pressmarks, flower studies or erotic fantasies. Scholar-printer Skelton, Gill's nephew, contributes a dry, narrowly focused, unhelpful introduction and a scholarly apparatus to an otherwise beautiful volume. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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