An Officer of the Rank of 'Oberster Feldprofoss'

In the 1500s, young artists practiced their drawing skills by copying the designs of more accomplished draftsmen. Jost Amman produced this image when he was only seventeen years old, carefully reproducing a print by his contemporary Virgil Solis. Although Amman painstakingly duplicated the line work of the original engraving, he changed various other features to display his own virtuosity more clearly. This drawing is far larger than the engraving, and Amman eliminated the landscape to monumentalize the figure of the officer. The artist created texture and depth with only two techniques: fine vertical hatching and thick black outlines. Amman further enhanced the liveliness and sensuousness of the surface by preparing the paper with a pale dusting of black chalk in lines radiating from the figure.

Pen and black ink, paper toned with black chalk (1556)

by Jost Amman (Swiss, 1539-1591)

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