Maso Finiguerra

1426 - Dec 4, 1464

Maso Tommasoii Finiguerra was an Italian goldsmith, niellist, draftsman, and engraver working in Florence, who was incorrectly described by Giorgio Vasari as the inventor of engraving as a printmaking technique. This made him a crucial figure in the history of old master prints and remained widely believed until the early twentieth century. However, it was gradually realised that Vasari's view, like many of his assertions as to the origins of technical advances, could not be sustained. Typically, Vasari had overstated the importance of a fellow-Florentine, and a fellow-Italian, since it is now clear that engraving developed in Germany before Italy.
Vasari only ever credited him with paper impressions of his nielli, rather than engravings made from special printing-plates, in the usual sense of the word; in fact there probably never were any such engravings by him. Although he clearly was an important artist of his time, few surviving works, and no surviving prints, can now be definitely attributed to him, so scholarly interest in him has greatly reduced. Over 100 drawings in the Uffizi, and others elsewhere, remain attributed to him.
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