Graphics: The Mysterious Engraver

It has been 500 years since an anonymous German artist finished off an exquisite engraving of the Madonna enthroned with eight angels, then added the date 1467 and the inscrutable initials E.S. To this day, nobody knows his identity. Some scholars believe he was Egidius Steclin, a 15th century goldsmith who worked in the Duke of Burgundy's court. Others insist that he was Erwin von Stege, onetime mintmaster to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III. Or, as one archivist suggests, was he really Endres Silbernagel, an obscure Freiburg painter who died of the plague in 1503?

Whoever he was, Master...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!