Metal point

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School of Filippino Lippi, about 1457–1504. MFA acc# 36.417


A metal rod used for drawing on a paper or parchment support which has been covered by a ground. As the point moves across the ground, it leaves behind a thin layer of metal. The thin metal quickly oxidizes, for example, silver point becomes the brownish grey of tarnished silver. Metal points are often prepared from soft metal such as silver and gold, but may also be made from lead, copper, or aluminium. They have been used since the 15th century and are still used by contemporary artists.

Metal point drawing using a variety of metals. Susan Schwalb, MFA acc# 2003.627

Synonyms and Related Terms


Additional Information

Thea Burns. The Luminous Trace: Drawing and Writing in Metalpoint. London: Archetype Publications, 2012.

Additional Images


  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Media & Techniques of Works of Art on Paper, New York University, New York, 1999
  • The Bullfinch Guide to Art History, Shearer West (ed.), Bullfinch Press, Boston, 1996

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