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History of Art Prints

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The duplication of work, also referred as an art print method, has been around for thousands of years dating as far back as the Mesopotamian civilization. During this era art was printed upon clay tablets with cylinder seals and gradually advanced as the craft itself progressed. Spreading from China, Egypt, and India art began to be transferred to stamps, silk and cloths, then later onto large-scale blocks to give more emphasis upon the pieces.


An art print technique developed in China was known as woodblock printing that allowed for patterns, text, and images all to be duplicated to a canvas of wood where the design is cut along the grain. For this process, the white areas known as the portrait outline had to be chiseled away, leaving the desired image on the material surface which would appear in black. A method more known to create this print is called Ukiyo-e which is a Japanese woodblock print style. Although derived from the Chinese art world, this technique eventually expanded to India and Europe around the early 1300s.


A tool that became quite useful for making designs was metal. This type of art print procedure was first created in 1230 during the Goryeo Dynasty in Korea. The process was a unique print style that required the use of moveable metals pieces that gave uniformity to lettering design, which eventually lead to typography. This new process  naturally lead to future innovative inventions, such as the Flat-bed printing press which was used to generate books such as the Gutenberg Bible during the Renaissance period in 1455.


As a result of these early art print inventions, barrier breaking techniques began to arise within the artistic community. The evolution of art duplication began to call for more ink mechanics and advanced technology, such as the lithograph method. The lithograph process, created by Bavarian author Alois Senefelder in 1796, traditionally demanded a limestone surface in which art was transferred upon. In later years as creative expression advanced, the work could be transferred by an inkjet printer onto any smooth surfaced material, such as metal or paper.


Art print began to acquire a more technical edge when serigraph printing gained popularity in the urban art community. A designer that dominated this area of art manufacturing was Andy Warhol in the early 1960s. He used the stencil technique of serigraph, or screen printing, to collaborate numerous pieces. Applying garish color to a screen print of Marilyn Monroe in 1962 landed Warhol's name at the top of the most influential serigraph artists. Since then he has only built upon his popularity by producing more radical and controversial illustrations.


Due to continuous experimentation with various methods of art creation and the ever growing creativity within the art world, new extravagant projects are always being made. With the options available, the artist is only limited by their own imagination and interpretation. As improvements in technology also broaden, various opportunities for designers to express their imaginations, emotions, and diverse views on our world will persist to grow and change.

Back to main topic: Prints & Reproductions
Fine Art Reproductions
Fine Art Prints
Art Reproductions: An overview
What are Limited Edition Prints
Where to Find Art Prints for Sale
How To Buy Art Prints
Fine Art Prints Make Great Gift Ideas
About Artwork Prints
Military Prints Are Works Of Art
Information On Reproductions
Modern Prints Of Art
Choosing An Artwork Reproduction
Using Artist Prints
How To Pick Out Art Reproductions
Reproduction Painting Can Be Affordable
What Is An Artists Proof
What Does Signed And Numbered Mean On Art
The Process Of Original Prints
The Purpose Of Modern Reproductions
Thomas Kinkade Prints
Black and White Prints
Various Types of Reproductions
The History of Reproduction Artwork
The Reproduction of Art Masterpieces
How Prints Are Made

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