Metal point

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


A metal tool 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, Gold, and Lead, but may be made from many other metals such as Bronze, Copper, or Aluminium. Metal point has been used by artists from the 15th century to the present day.

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


  • Italian Renaissance Drawings: Technical Examination and Analysis. Janet Ambers, Catherine Higgitt and David Saunders (ed.), The British Museum, 2010.
  • 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
  • James Watrous. The Craft of Old-Master Drawings, University of Wisconsin Press, 1957.

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