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Centuries of engraving displayed in Ridgewood

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This new and exciting exhibit explores the fascinating properties of hand engraving and its unique combination of the artist’s force of hand, judgment of eye and decisiveness of mind that underlie the act of making the engraved line.

This is the third exhibit curated by Arthur Kirmss and Ellen Brody of Woodhaven and Long Island City for the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society, and is the broadest and most challenging project by far. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society is proud to present this exhibit that explores one of the oldest and most enduring arts known.

Engraving has survived from prehistory in cave art that is over 20,000 years old. It is hard to imagine the profound effort undertaken by those early engravers to cut deep lines into such unyielding materials like bone, antler or stone using only sharpened flint points.

Engraving and sculpture have existed side by side since the Stone Age, and both are evident as allied arts in this exhibit. Engraving is often described as an “applied art,” meaning that the art of engraving was applied to the surfaces of many purely useful items for the purpose of beautifying them. Examples include coinage, portraits of rulers, fine articles of housewares — like platters, bowls, utensils, cigarette cases, tobacco boxes and vases — and arms and edged weapons, such as swords and knives.

The exhibit includes early examples as well as contemporary pieces of art illustrating engraving in many different media — stone, bone, metal, ivory and horn.

The exhibit will continue until the summer and is open to the public on Saturdays, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Onderdonk House, 1820 Flushing Ave.

Admission to the exhibit is free with a $2 donation to the society and includes a visitor’s guide to the Onderdonk House. This exhibit is supported by funds from public service grants by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State, Department of Parks and Recreation; through the efforts of Councilman Dennis Gallagher and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.

The Onderdonk House is a National Historic Landmark and was built in 1709 by Dutch settlers. Occupied by farmers for more than 200 years, the stone farmhouse survived the industrialization of adjacent lots along Flushing Avenue. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society owns and operates the Onderdonk House and is committed to preserving the art, culture and history of the Greater Ridgewood Area.

For information on this and the other programs conducted by the Society, call 718-456-1776. The Onderdonk House can be reached by public transportation. Bus: Q-54 passes two blocks away on Metropolitan Avenue. B-57 passes the house on Flushing Avenue. Subway: “L” line to Jefferson Street (Brooklyn) stop; proceed five blocks north (right) along Flushing Ave. On-street parking is available, plentiful and free.

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