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#13906881 Nov 23, 2018 at 01:30 AM
1 Post
The pressure can be exerted either manually or by running the block and the paper through a press. The frugal, quite elegant woodcut illustrations create an overall sense of classical tranquility and balance. Titian himself preferred instead to have his paintings translated into the intaglio technique of engraving.

Book Illustration

The woodcut is a relief process.The actual technique of stamping from woodblocks was used to print textiles before it was applied to paper. Since engravings and type required different kinds of presses, the illustrations began to be printed independently on separate pages and the overall result lacked the integration present in previous books.

The first woodcuts that appeared in Europe around 1400 consisted mainly of thick outlines with minimal shading.

The chiaroscuro woodcut was invented in Germany by Hans Burgkmair in 1509. It was created by first printing a line block in which the contours and crosshatching had been carved.

Incidentally, woodcuts were the first prints in which color was first introduced. His work titled Diogenes is remarkable because he makes no use of the line block and creates the image entirely through areas of tones. The design of a woodcut is produced by elimination. These prints were known as chiaroscuro woodcuts. The resulting images looked a lot like coloring books and they were, in fact, meant to be colored by hand or with stencils. The term chiaroscuro was derived from the appearance of the image. He created woodcuts like Samson Rending the Lion which were amazingly detailed and complete with subtle gradations of tone and suggestions of texture. That is, cutting away everything except the lines or shapes to be printed on the paper. These drawings were much sought after by collectors at the time. The print was later combined with one or more tone blocks. In Italy, the first artist to use chiaroscuro was Ugo da Carpi. Other artists such as Titian, later lost interest in having their drawings duplicated through woodcut. Where the blocks had been cut away, the paper would remain unprinted, and these white areas would serve as the highlights.

By the mid sixteenth century, engraving had started to prevail over woodcuts as the favorite medium for book illustration.

Albrecht Drer was responsible for transforming the medium.

Chiaroscuro Woodcuts

The intention of the printmaker was to imitate the look of a kind of drawing on colored paper known as chiaroscuro. On the other hand, the Italian book shows a different aesthetic very much in line with ancient Roman inscriptions. Very efficiently, the same image could be used to illustrate more than one text and it could even be used repeatedly in the same text. By using more than one tone block, it was possible to suggest different degrees of shading, as in a wash drawing.The lines are so delicate and fluent, the composition so animated that there is strong evidence that Titian drew directly on the block, and the master cutter followed his marks as closely as possible. Various woodblocks could be placed alongside the type in the flatbed press and printed simultaneously.

Titian, the great Venetian painter, created striking examples of woodcuts such as Saint Jerome in the Wilderness.

Not much later, another illustrated book by the title Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (Poliphilo Outdoor Lamps for sale s Dream) was printed in Venice with very similar characteristics although different styles. With the invention of the printing press in the mid fifteenth century, woodcuts became the medium of choice for illustrating early printed books.

A fabulous example of a chiaroscuro print is that by Hans Baldung Grien s titled Scene of Witchcraft in which flickering highlights and deep darks can be easily discerned and help create an oppressive and daunting scene. Woodcuts are made by inking the raised surface of a carved block of wood against which a piece of paper is pressed. However, the pages of the German book are densely filled with the texture of short, jagged, angular lines that designate both the Gothic script and the illustrations. They both are perfect examples of the successful integration of text and image into the overall layout of the page. Such was the beauty of his work that a contemporary of Drer, Erasmus of Rotterdam, claimed that adding color would be to injure the work. It is quite difficult to carve the block and lines that were too thin would break under pressure. The artist then worked toward the light (chiaro) by adding highlights with white gouache and toward the dark (oscuro) by adding crosshatching in pen or a dark wash with a brush. Because most of the early woodcuts served as illustrations for books and there was an ever growing demand for well illustrated books, the medium quickly became more and more sophisticated. The colored paper served as the middle tone. It was known in Japan since the VIII century. The Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle) uses the exact same city view to denote cities that were unknown to the artist. The image in Diogenes is based on a wash drawing by Parmigianino
#13919114 Dec 10, 2018 at 05:57 AM
11 Posts
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