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Relief Prints

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Domenic Iacono

on 7 September 2016

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Transcript of Relief Prints

Relief Prints
Woodcuts, Wood Engraving,
Linocuts, Letterpress
Chiaroscuro Woodcuts

The earliest colored woodcuts were intended to imitate the appearance of a type of drawing on colored paper known as chiaroscuro, much sought after by collectors. In these drawings, the colored paper served as the middle tone, and the artist worked toward the light (chiaro-clear) by adding highlights with white gouache, and toward the dark (scuro-dark) by adding crosshatching in pen or a dark wash with a brush. The chiaroscuro woodcut, perhaps invented in Germany by Hans Burgkmair around 1509, was created by printing a line block—which carried the contours and crosshatching, and could sometimes stand alone as a black and white woodcut—together with one or more tone blocks. If there were only one tone block, it would print a mid-tone that would function in the same way as the colored paper did in the drawings. Where more than one tone block was used, it was possible to suggest levels of shading, as in a wash drawing. Where the blocks had been cut away, the paper would remain unprinted, and these white areas would serve as the highlights.

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