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The History of Reproduction Artwork

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Western Art

The history behind the reproduction of artwork has come a long way since the days of ancient China.  As with many ways of life, the reproduction of artwork has progressed from manual means to advanced computerized methods.  The quality of these reproductions has not had to be sacrificed.  On the contrary, it has been enchanced to an unbelievable degree.

Dating back to 200 AD, the ancient Chinese show evidence of woodcuts being used for replication.  This method was based on the relief technique where wood was cut away to leave only the parts intended to pick up ink from the raised wood.  This method was effective, but time consuming.  This process was also unable to replicate color blends and intricate color variations.

By the time the Renaissance movement hit in Europe, things had begun to advance.  At the beginning of the Renaissance period, artists worked as tradesmen with societal restrictions.  This governed how they created pieces for their benefactors.  However, during this time period, things began to change.  Part of the rebirth involved people realizing that they could contribute to society and think as individuals.  With the rise of the 'individual', a flood of new ideas and inventions descended.  The craftsmen began to experiment with different methods of replicating pieces.  Early fine art reproduction involved painstaking attention to detail.  An accomplished member of the guild would systematically recreate the work.  Many of these accomplished people were able to do this with amazing skill.  Unfortunately, no one could actually make an exact duplicate.  In addition, this method was time consuming.  Woodcuts were impractical for this type of quality and didn't work well due to the limitations of color replication on wood.

In the mid 1400's, an invention that changed Western society forever entered the scene.  It was the printing press.  There was a great desire and hunger for copied words to be printed in large quanities.  The rising middle class was granted access to the printed word.  A related technology was used to do the same for the art world.  Instead of metal works, the earlier forms used stone.  A chemical was applied to help corrode away the non-painted surface of limestone.  It took several years to find an agreeable adaptation of the technology, but in the late 1700's, lithography was born.  People wanted to own copies of original pieces by the masters.  This desire for a better, more accurate method of creating replicas was satisfied with the invention of lithography.  It experienced huge changes over time. After several decades, a corrosive was applied to metal to allow for rotary printing.  In time, computers became part of the equation.

Today, a new form of reproduction for artwork, known as giclee, has dominated the market.  This method uses the modern high tech advantages of computers and advanced programming.  This processing allows for specified amounts of inks to be squirted onto paper and mixed so close to the original color hues that few can tell the difference.  Now multiple copies with the exact brightness and detailed replication of the original work can be created.

The history of the reproduction of artwork dates back to the ancient Chinese and progresses to modern computer programing.  The affordablity of works that mimic in minute detail the original work is now a reality.

 


Back to main topic: Prints & Reproductions
Fine Art Reproductions
Fine Art Prints
History of 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 Reproduction of Art Masterpieces
How Prints Are Made

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