Thursday, August 23, 2012


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Printmaking is an art form consisting of the production of images, usually on paper but occasionally on fabric, parchment, plastic, or other support, by various techniques of multiplication, under the direct supervision of or by the hand of the artist. These fine prints, are considered original works of art, even though they can exist in multiples. There are many different forms of printmaking.

Engraving is a form of printmaking that includes the cutting is done by a graver, or burin, on a copper, zinc, aluminum, or magnesium plate, and the design is printed with a roller press from ink rubbed into the incised grooves. Wood engraving came from the woodcut, but the use of the hard, smooth boxwood, cut with the burin commonly used by the copper-plate engraver, produces a finer, more detailed image. By contrast with engraving from metal plates, the printing of wood engravings is done from the surface of the plate or block; the parts that are not to be printed are cut away.

Etching is also another method of printmaking. This is the method of engraving in which lines or textures are bitten, or etched, into a metal plate, usually copper, with acid.The image produced has a spontaneity of line that comes from drawing on the plate in the same direct way as with pen or pencil on paper. The first etchings date from the early 16th century, but the basic principle had been used earlier for the decoration of armor. Many pioneers of this were Albrecht Altdorfer, Albrecht Durer, and Parmigianino, but the greatest of all etchers was Rembrandt. In the 0th century, etching has been especially popular for book illustration.

Mezzotint is a collaboration of both of the previous types of printmaking. Engraved or etched lines are often introduced to give the design greater definition. Mezzotint was invented in Holland by Ludwig von Siegen in the 17th century but thereafter was practiced primarily in England. Its adaptability to making color prints made it ideal for reproduction of paintings. After the invention of photography it was rarely used. In recent years the technique has been revived, especially by U.S. and Japanese printmakers.


Finally, woodcut one of the oldest methods of making prints, it was used in China to decorate textiles from the 5th century. Printing from wood blocks on textiles was known in Europe from the early 14th century, but developed little until paper began to be manufactured in France and Germany at the end of the 14th century. In the early 15th century, religious imagesand playing cards were first made from wood blocks. Black-line woodcut reached its greatest perfection in the 16th century with Albrecht Durer and his followers. In the late 1th and early 0th century, artists such as Edvard Munch, Paul Gauguin, and the German Expressionists rediscovered the expressive potential of woodcuts. Woodcuts have played an important role in the history of Japanese art

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