Meaning of PRINTMAKING in English

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. Such fine prints, as they are known collectively, are considered original works of art, even though they can exist in multiples. Printmakers conceive their images not as drawings or paintings but rather as they will appear as a result of the printmaking technique. Images are drawn or carved, for example, in mirror reverse on the plate, block, or stone. Original prints are thereby distinguished from drawings or paintings translated by commercial processes of reproduction to multiples. The artist-printmaker is involved at each stage of the printmaking process, from the conception of the work to the technical process of preparing the plate, block, or stone to the actual printing and then to any finishing work. Each printmaking process has its own distinctive characteristic, and the artist-printmaker selects that technique most appropriate to the effect that he wishes to create. Prints may vary slightly, and in large editions sometimes the earlier prints are finer in quality as the printing medium may subsequently wear or deteriorate. Likewise the inking, wetness, and quality of paper, the wiping of the plate, and other variables can result in small distinctions between prints. Editions today are usually limited to a predetermined number of prints, decided upon by the artist and publisher. Each print is usually identified by its own number and by the number of the edition, frequently shown separated by an oblique line (4/50 means the fourth impression of an edition limited to 50). The artist may sign each print. Once the edition has been finished, the artist usually cancels the plate, block, or stone (by striking or marking across it) or destroys it completely. Some plates from earlier periods, especially the 17th and 18th centuries, have been "restruck" in later times, and it can be difficult to be sure whether the print in question is an original made by the artist or under his supervision or is a later restrike from an original plate. There are three major techniques of printmaking, but within each technique a large number of variations exist. The major techniques are relief printing, where the background is cut away, leaving a raised image; intaglio printing, where the image is incised directly into the plate; and surface printing such as lithography, where the image is painted or drawn onto a stone, and stencil printing, where the design is cut out and printed by spraying paint or ink through the stencil. The usual materials of relief printing are wood and linoleum, though metal, cardboard, and others are used. The relief process lends itself to bolder designs in which large areas of light and dark predominate. To print, the wood or lino is inked, leaving the background clean, and paper is placed over it and pressed or rubbed. The best known forms of intaglio printing are engraving and etching. A metal plate is used, and the image is either engraved into the metal with a special tool called a burin, or the plate is covered with acid-resistant material called ground, usually waxy in texture, and the design is drawn with a sharp metal needle onto the ground; the plate is then immersed in acid, which eats into the metal where it is exposed by the drawn lines and creates an etched image. Drypoint, mezzotint, and aquatint are other intaglio techniques. The plate is printed by inking, wiping, and then passing it through a roller press with the plate face up and covered with dampened paper. Lithography is the best known surface process. The design is drawn on a stone in greasy crayon, and the stone is then wetted with water. Ink is rolled onto the stone and adheres only to the greasy drawing. The inked image is then transferred to paper. Of the stencil processes, silk screen is the best known and is frequently used to produce colour prints. The history of printmaking parallels the history of art and is one of the oldest art forms. Though he had several predecessors, the first important engraver was a 15th-century German, Martin Schongauer. In the 16th century Albrecht Drer created prints of the highest quality, and in the 17th century the etchings of Rembrandt were especially fine. "The Breaking Wave off Kanagawa," wood-block colour print by Hokusai, from the series 1/4 Japanese printmaking originated in the 17th century with the Ukiyo-e school of woodcuts. Prints were made until the middle of the 19th century and had a profound influence on the history of Western art and design. The best known artists were Hokusai, the most famous woodcutter (see photograph), and Hiroshige, the last great printmaker before the decline of that school. In the 20th century, however, a revival of the Japanese woodcut (hanga) produced such masters as Onchi Koshiro and Munakata Shiko. Important 18th-century Western artists who made prints include William Hogarth, Francisco Goya, and Giambattista Piranesi. Among the works of 19th-century printmakers those of Honor Daumier and of many of the French Impressionists are notable. Twentieth-century printmaking was stimulated by the development of photographic reproduction processes that rendered reproductive printmaking-which had grown popular to illustrate mass magazines, newspapers, and advertising posters-obsolete, returning the techniques to the creative artists. Experimentation in new styles and new directions proliferated, with France retaining the lead but soon challenged by Germany, England, and the United States. Printmaking in the late 20th century presented a great diversity of styles and techniques, ranging from near-photographic realism to a totally abstract approach to the subject. 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. Such fine prints, as they are known collectively, are considered original works of art, even though they can exist in multiples. To the modern reader, the word print might suggest mechanically mass-produced commercial products, such as books, newspapers, and textiles. In this article, however, the print refers to the original creation of an artist who, instead of the paintbrush or the chisel, has chosen printmaking tools to express himself. The fine print is a multiple original. Originality is generally associated with uniqueness, but a print is considered original because the artist from the outset intended to create an etching, woodcut, or other graphic work and thus conceived his image within the possibilities and limitations of that technique. Without doubt, early printmaking was strongly influenced by a desire for multiple prints. Artists quickly discovered, however, that when a drawing is translated into a woodcut or engraving it takes on totally new characteristics. Each technique has its own distinctive style, imposed by the tools, materials, and printing methods. The metamorphosis that takes place between drawing and print became the strongest attraction for the creative artist. It is important to understand that the artist does not select his printing method arbitrarily but chooses the one in which he can best express himself. Thus, any of the proofs printed from an original plate is considered an original work of art, and, although most fine prints are pulled in limited quantities, the number has no bearing on originality, only on commercial value. What is the difference between a reproduction and an original print? In the very early days of printmaking this was not a serious problem because the print was not looked upon as a precious art object, and prices were low. The question of originality became an issue only in the 18th century, and, in the 19th century, artists started to hand sign their prints. Since then, the signed print has been accepted by most people as the proof of its originality. With regard to the name with which he signed his works, the Japanese artist followed a bewildering custom: he adopted and discarded names at will. If he admired another artist, he simply adopted his name. Thus, in the art history of Japan, it is common to find several unrelated artists bearing the same name and one artist bearing many names; during his long life, Hokusai, for example, used about 50 different names. In fact, a signature by itself means little or nothing. For instance, Pablo Picasso issued many signed reproductions of his paintings; on the other hand, many of his original etchings have been published in split editions, some signed, some not. These unsigned etchings are original, while the signed reproductions are not. The crucial difference is that Picasso made the plate for the original print, while the signed reproduction was photomechanically produced. In 1960 the International Congress of Plastic Arts drafted a resolution intended to regulate contemporary prints. The crucial paragraph reads: The above principles apply to graphic works which can be considered originals, that is to say to prints for which the artist made the original plate, cut the woodblock, worked on the stone or any other material. Works that do not fulfill these conditions must be considered "reproductions." Although this is a straightforward statement, later developments have proved it to be highly controversial. Since the rise of the Pop and Op movements, a great number of photographically produced prints have been published and sold as signed originals. Because museum curators, art critics, and artists have not taken a firm stand on the question, any print that the artist declares to be original is now accepted as such, regardless of how it was made. Although the art world is divided on the solution, nearly everybody agrees that something should be done to clarify the situation. The state of New York, for example, has passed a law requiring complete disclosure by the dealer of how, and by whom, the print was made. Many artists believe that the answer lies in the giving of honest information. In the 17th and 18th centuries in the West, most prints carried all the relevant information on their margins. The name of the individual was followed by a Latin abbreviation indicating his role in the work. Common examples are del. (delineavit): "he drew it"; imp. (impressit): "he printed it"; and sculp. (sculpsit): "he engraved it." This type of information, together with the total edition number, should be furnished by the artist or the dealer to the buyer. Clearly, it is impossible to make completely rigid rules to define originality. Probably the most realistic solution is to establish degrees of originality, based on the degree of the artist's participation in the various steps in the creation of the finished print. There may also be confusion about edition numbering. In contemporary printmaking, an original print in limited edition should carry information about the size of the total edition and the number of the print. A problem can arise because, in addition to the regular edition, there are "artist's proofs" or the French "H.C." (hors de commerce) proofs. These are intended for the artist's personal use and should be no more than 10 percent of the edition; but, unfortunately, this practice is often abused. All of the prints pulled between working stages are called "trial proofs." These can be of great interest because they reveal the artist's working process and of great value because the number of proofs is small. With prints of old masters in the West, originality is a very complex and difficult issue. These artists did not publish their prints in limited editions but printed as many as they could sell and without signing or numbering their works. There are arguments even between experts about the authenticity of many old prints. Important works of the masters are documented in catalogs and, although these must be revised from time to time, they furnish the only firm information available. After the edition is printed, the modern artist usually either destroys the plate or marks ("strikes") it in a distinctive manner to guarantee that any reprint from the plate is identifiable. The 19th-century U.S. painter and etcher James McNeill Whistler was one of the first Western artists to hand sign his prints. Signing is now regulated by a convention. Upon completing the edition, the artist signs and numbers each print. Usually the signature is in the lower right corner; the edition number is on the left. Some artists put the title in the centre. Additional reading Donald Saff and Deli Sacilotto, Printmaking: History and Processes (1978), with emphasis on the multitude of techniques; Riva Castleman, Prints of the Twentieth Century (1976), a popularly written survey; Fritz Eichenberg, The Art of the Print (1976), general history and technique; Arthur M. Hind, A History of Engraving and Etching from the 15th Century to the Year 1914, 3rd ed. rev. (1923, reprinted 1963), and An Introduction to a History of Woodcut, with a Detailed Survey of Work Done in the Fifteenth Century, 2 vol. (1935, reprinted 1963), cover brilliantly the whole history and development of Western printmaking; and Jay A. Levenson, Konrad Oberhuber, Jacquelyn L. Sheehan, Early Italian Engravings from the National Gallery of Art (1973), a thorough study of the Italian Renaissance. Other studies particularly recommended are: Jean Laran, L'Estampe, 2 vol. (1959), excellent documentation coupled with a volume of fine reproductions; Willy Boller, Masterpieces of the Japanese Color Woodcut (1957), not a scholarly book but it covers well the high points of Japanese printmaking; Carl Zigrosser, The Book of Fine Prints, rev. ed. (1956), an easy-to-read introduction into the history of printmaking; Ellen S. Jacobowitz and Stephanie L. Stepenak, The Prints of Lucas Van Leyden and His Contemporaries (1983), excellent documentation of the period; David Freedberg, Dutch Landscape Prints of the Seventeenth Century (1980); A. Hyatt Mayor, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1952), a fine biography of Piranesi with an excellent selection of illustrations; Wolf Stubbe, Graphic Arts of the Twentieth Century (1963; originally published in German, 1962), good introduction into the history of contemporary printmaking; James Watrous, American Printmaking (1984), covering 1880 to 1980; Una E. Johnson, American Prints and Printmakers (1980), a comprehensive study covering 1900-80; Karen F. Beall (comp.), American Prints in the Library of Congress (1970); E.S. Lumsden, The Art of Etching (1929, reprinted 1962), excellent document on the traditional etching techniques; Willi Kurth (ed.), The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Drer (1946), primarily a picture book with historical background; Carl Zigrosser and Christa M. Gaehde, A Guide to the Collecting and Care of Original Prints (1965), a wealth of indispensable information for the collector; Stanley W. Hayter, About Prints (1962), challenging ideas about printmaking by an important artist and teacher; Richard T. Godfrey, Printmaking in Britain: A General History from Its Beginnings to the Present Day (1978); Leo C. Collins, Hercules Seghers (1953), an excellent, welldocumented book on one of the most important printmakers; Ludwig Mnz, Rembrandt Etchings, 2 vol. (1949), interesting because it documents Rembrandt's influence as a teacher; K.G. Boon, Rembrandt: The Complete Etchings (1963, reissued 1978), one of the finest books on Rembrandt with excellent rich reproductions; Gabor Peterdi, Printmaking, rev. ed. (1971, reissued 1980), a simple but thorough book on both the traditional and experimental intaglio and woodcut methods; Redon, Moreau, Bresdin, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1961), primarily interesting for the Bresdin documentation; Carl W. Schraubstadter, Care and Repair of Japanese Prints, ACL ed. (1978), useful information for the collector; The Complete Etchings of Goya (1943), primarily a picture book; Andr Malraux, Saturne: An Essay on Goya (1957; originally published in French, 1950), a very subjective response to Goya by a great writer, richly illustrated; Maxime Lalanne, A Treatise on Etching (1880; trans. of 2nd French ed., 1878), primarily interesting as a historical document on technique; Frank and Dorothy Getlein, The Bite of the Print: Satire and Irony in Woodcuts, Engravings, Etchings, Lithographs and Serigraphs (1963), an interesting book highlighting the militant, political aspect of prints; Bernard S. Myers, The German Expressionists (1957), a good introduction to the history of German Expressionism, well illustrated; Jean Adhemar, Toulouse-Lautrec: His Complete Lithographs and Drypoints (1965; originally published in French, 1965), the definitive book on Toulouse-Lautrec as a printmaker; Michel Melot, Graphic Art of the Pre- Impressionists, trans. from the French (1981); Michael Knigin and Murray Zimiles, The Technique of Fine Art Lithography, rev. ed. (1977), an excellent, well-organized book on a complex subject; Joan Ludman and Lauris Mason (comps.), Print Reference: A Selected Bibliography of Print-Related Literature (1982), a classified bibliography of most English-language 20th-century works on the history, production, collecting, and care of fine prints. Gabor F. Peterdi History of printmaking Engraving is one of the oldest art forms. Engraved designs have been found on prehistoric bones, stones, and cave walls. The technique of duplicating images goes back several thousand years to the Sumerians (c. 3000 BC), who engraved designs and cuneiform inscriptions on cylinder seals (usually made of stone), which, when rolled over soft clay tablets, left relief impressions. They conceived not only the idea of multiplication but also the mechanical principle, the roller, which in more sophisticated form became the printing press. On the basis of stone designs and seals found in China, there is speculation that the Chinese may have produced a primitive form of print-the rubbing-about the 2nd century AD. The first authenticated prints rubbed from wood blocks were Buddhist charms printed in Japan and distributed between AD 764 and 770. It is believed that the first wood-block prints on textiles were made by the Egyptians in the 6th or 7th century; but the earliest printed image with an authenticated date is a scroll of the Diamond Sutra (one of the discourses of the Buddha) printed by Wang Chieh in AD 868, which was found in a cave in eastern Turkestan. In Europe, stamping (to imprint royal seals and signatures) preceded printing by rubbing or with a press. The earliest documented impressed royal signature is that of Henry VI of England, dated 1436. Textile printing, however, was known in Europe in the 6th century, the designs consisting largely of repeated decorative patterns. Printing on paper developed from textile printing, following the introduction of paper from the Orient. The first European paper was made in 1151, at Xativa (modern Jtiva), Spain. Soon afterward paper manufacturing began in France and then in Germany and Italy, notably by Fabriano, whose enterprise was established in 1276. The first woodcuts on paper, printed in quantity, were playing cards. The term Kartenmahler or Kartenmacher ("painter or maker of playing cards," respectively) appears on a German document dated 1402; and documents from both Italy and France from the middle of the 15th century mention wood blocks for the printing of playing cards. The earliest dated woodcut is a "Madonna with Four Virgin Saints in a Garden" from the year 1418. Many documents from the 15th century indicate that a clear distinction was made between the designer and the cutter of the wood blocks. From the outset, woodcut was primarily a facsimile process: the cutter copied a drawing provided by the designer. Printing from a metal engraving, introduced a few decades after the woodcut, had an independent development. The art of engraving and etching originated with goldsmiths and armour makers-men who were thoroughly professional craftsmen, practicing an art that had a long, respected tradition. Since the armour makers and goldsmiths were designers themselves, the whole process was controlled by the creative artist. Printmaking in the 15th century Germany Single prints (in contrast to those printed in a series or as part of an illustrated book) of the early 15th century were not signed or dated, and, because they were religious images carried by pilgrims from one place to another, it is nearly impossible to establish with certainty their place of origin. Their style alone must be relied upon for some indication of origin. The first phase of woodcut, from about 1402 until about 1425, was dominated by boldly designed single figures against a blank background. Most of the cuts were made to be hand coloured. In the second half of the 15th century the cuts became more complex: architectural and landscape elements came into use, and often the image was framed in an elaborate border. The first metal prints (cribl, or dotted, print) were made in the second half of the 15th century. The design was created by tiny dots punched into the metal and intermingled with short cuts. Surface printed, the whites are the positive part of the design, which is dominated by the dark background. Tiny holes in the borders indicate that most of these plates were intended as decorations to be mounted rather than as printing plates. The earliest dated intaglio-printed engraving is from 1446: "The Flagellation," of a Passion series. Around this time, the first distinct personality to have great influence on German engraving appeared. He is known as the Master of the Playing Cards. His style was simple, nearly monumental; unlike the printwork of goldsmiths, his engravings lack ornamentation. For shading he used slightly diagonal parallel cuts. The Master of the Playing Cards heralds the beginning of a century of great printmakers in Germany. Another significant engraver, the Master of the Banderoles, was named after the ribbon scrolls characteristic of his prints, which are more decorative than those of the Master of the Playing Cards. In the second half of the 15th century, the outstanding printmaker was Master E.S., who flourished about 1440-67 and was one of the first to use initials as a signature on his plates. Little is known about him, but the personality that emerges from approximately 317 plates is forceful and distinct. Although it is evident from his prints that, like most early engravers, he was first trained as a goldsmith, his work has strong pictorial quality. Martin Schongauer was the first great engraver who is known to have been a painter rather than a goldsmith. Although Schongauer's style was still Gothic in character, he composed with much greater freedom than his contemporaries, thus representing a transition into the Renaissance. He made about 115 plates, mostly of religious subjects, and was a powerful influence on the young Albrecht Drer (see below Printmaking in the 16th century). During the second half of the 15th century, a group of brilliant engravers known only by their initials emerged in Germany. They are the Masters B.G., B.M., L.G.S., A.G., B.R., and W.H. The controversial figure of Israhel van Meckenem appeared at the end of the 15th century. A superb and extremely prolific engraver, he was a rather eclectic artist, borrowing from other masters and often copying them.

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