Jorge Ramos LG1
Printmaking and its techniques
Art is not something easily explained, many people would need paragraphs to explain their definition of art. For me it’s quite different, I see art as a gateway, a key or maybe an instrument. For me art is an instrument of the human kind to express their mind, a gateway to access views and opinions you may have missed and a key to inner andouter peace. Art is also like a tool, it varies in form and purpose. The range of techniques and styles in art is far too wide to be thoroughly explained and discussed in this essay; therefore I shall concentrate on one type only. This art style is my favorite and is known to be one of the most important in our history. Many say painting and others say sculpting, I say printmaking! In this essayI will be presenting to the reader one of the most influential techniques know to man and I will concentrate and compare the two most important styles.
Printmaking is an art style in which the artwork is made via printing, usually done on paper but can also be done in wood and metal. The earliest forms of printmaking are woodcuts that date back up to the 1300’s in China and Egypt. Printing isdivided into four families known as Relief, Intaglio, Planographic and Stencil. The two techniques I’ve chosen fall into the Intaglio family: Engraving and Etching. These techniques, like any other art form have their similarities and differences. I will concentrate on the specifics of these differences and their pro’s and con’s for the average artist.
Engraving is the practice ofincising a design on to a hard surface like metal plates with the help of tools. These works are called engravings and could then be used by themselves with other decorations or could be used to make a printing plate to make designs and artworks into paper. This last method, also known as Old Master Print was conceived in Germany around the 1430’s by goldsmiths who wanted to make a reusable method andto have storage of their designs. Historically, Engraving saw as much success in the advertising world as it did in art, having an undisputed reign in the European Middle Ages ranging from the years 1470 to 1530. Engraving then suffered a downfall do to the difficulty surrounding its processes. In order for someone to master this art he had to have experience with wood cutting techniques and as itis engraving raised the bar in difficulty since it was like sculpting into a slab of metal. This great method was then succeeded by my other choice in printmaking: Etching.
Etching is another printmaking method. Etching is done by covering a metal plate with an acid-resistant layer of wax called a ground and drawing a design through the ground using an etching needle. The plate is thendipped in acid, which bites into the exposed lines, thus etching the design into the plate. This method overthrew engraving because it was a lot easier to learn for the average artists, you didn’t had to have previous woodcutting expertise to be able to etch. Etching as well as engraving saw a lot of success thanks to artists like Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and Francisco de Goya, like I do now, theseartists saw the great potential these techniques had therefore instead of dedicating to one they chose to combine etchings and engravings to make wonderful pieces of art.
As great as these methods are they also have some disadvantages to them. Engraving has a simple con, the lack of effort most people have. To be a great Engraver is to be like a great doctor, much studying and practice isneeded to achieve such a status and to be an engraver you needed experience most people couldn’t obtain. Besides this the other con is the time factor, creating an engraving claimed to much time for an artist and in an ever growing economy back then a faster method for printing was needed, hence the creation of etching. Etching also had its fair share of problems starting with health issues;...
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