Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations. Engraving is one of the oldest and most important techniques in printmaking. Wood engraving is not covered in this article. Engraving was a important method of producing images on paper in artistic printmaking, in mapmaking, for commercial reproductions and illustrations for books and magazines, it has long been replaced by various photographic processes in its commercial applications and because of the difficulty of learning the technique, is much less common in printmaking, where it has been replaced by etching and other techniques. "Engraving" is loosely but incorrectly used for any old black and white print. Many old master prints combine techniques on the same plate, further confusing matters.
Line engraving and steel engraving cover use for reproductive prints, illustrations in books and magazines, similar uses in the 19th century, not using engraving. Traditional engraving, by burin or with the use of machines, continues to be practised by goldsmiths, glass engravers and others, while modern industrial techniques such as photoengraving and laser engraving have many important applications. Engraved gems were an important art in the ancient world, revived at the Renaissance, although the term traditionally covers relief as well as intaglio carvings, is a branch of sculpture rather than engraving, as drills were the usual tools. Other terms used for printed engravings are copper engraving, copper-plate engraving or line engraving. Steel engraving is the same technique, on steel or steel-faced plates, was used for banknotes, illustrations for books and reproductive prints and similar uses from about 1790 to the early 20th century, when the technique became less popular, except for banknotes and other forms of security printing.
In the past, "engraving" was used loosely to cover several printmaking techniques, so that many so-called engravings were in fact produced by different techniques, such as etching or mezzotint. "Hand engraving" is a term sometimes used for engraving objects other than printing plates, to inscribe or decorate jewellery, trophies and other fine metal goods. Traditional engravings in printmaking are "hand engraved", using just the same techniques to make the lines in the plate; each graver has its own use. Engravers use a hardened steel tool called a burin, or graver, to cut the design into the surface, most traditionally a copper plate. However, modern hand engraving artists use burins or gravers to cut a variety of metals such as silver, steel, gold and more, in applications from weaponry to jewellery to motorcycles to found objects. Modern professional engravers can engrave with a resolution of up to 40 lines per mm in high grade work creating game scenes and scrollwork. Dies used in mass production of molded parts are sometimes hand engraved to add special touches or certain information such as part numbers.
In addition to hand engraving, there are engraving machines that require less human finesse and are not directly controlled by hand. They are used for lettering, using a pantographic system. There are versions for the insides of rings and the outsides of larger pieces; such machines are used for inscriptions on rings and presentation pieces. Gravers come in a variety of sizes that yield different line types; the burin produces a unique and recognizable quality of line, characterized by its steady, deliberate appearance and clean edges. The angle tint tool has a curved tip, used in printmaking. Florentine liners are flat-bottomed tools with multiple lines incised into them, used to do fill work on larger areas or to create uniform shade lines that are fast to execute. Ring gravers are made with particular shapes that are used by jewelry engravers in order to cut inscriptions inside rings. Flat gravers are used for fill work on letters, as well as "wriggle" cuts on most musical instrument engraving work, remove background, or create bright cuts.
Knife gravers are for line engraving and deep cuts. Round gravers, flat gravers with a radius, are used on silver to create bright cuts, as well as other hard-to-cut metals such as nickel and steel. Square or V-point gravers are square or elongated diamond-shaped and used for cutting straight lines. V-point can be anywhere depending on purpose and effect; these gravers have small cutting points. Other tools such as mezzotint rockers and burnishers are used for texturing effects. Burnishing tools can be used for certain stone setting techniques. Musical instrument engraving on American-made brass instruments flourished in the 1920s and utilizes a specialized engraving technique where a flat graver is "walked" across the surface of the instrument to make zig-zag lines and patterns; the method for "walking" the graver may be referred to as "wriggle" or "wiggle" cuts. This technique is necessary due to the thinness of metal used to make musical instruments versus firearms or jewelry. Wriggle cuts are found on
Drypoint is a printmaking technique of the intaglio family, in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed "needle" of sharp metal or diamond point. In principle, the method is identical to engraving; the difference is in the use of tools, that the raised ridge along the furrow is not scraped or filed away as in engraving. Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are commonly used. Like etching, drypoint is easier to master than engraving for an artist trained in drawing because the technique of using the needle is closer to using a pencil than the engraver's burin; the term is used for inkless scratched inscriptions, such as glosses in manuscripts. The lines produced by printing a drypoint are formed by the burr thrown up at the edge of the incised lines, in addition to the depressions formed in the surface of the plate. A larger burr, formed by a steep angle of the tool, will hold a lot of ink, producing a characteristically soft, dense line that differentiates drypoint from other intaglio methods such as etching or engraving which produce a smooth, hard-edged line.
The size or characteristics of the burr depend not on how much pressure is applied, but on the angle of the needle. A perpendicular angle will leave little to no burr, while the smaller the angle gets to either side, the larger the burr pileup; the deepest drypoint lines leave enough burr on either side of them that they prevent the paper from pushing down into the center of the stroke, creating a feathery black line with a fine, white center. A lighter line may have no burr at all, creating a fine line in the final print by holding little ink; this technique is different from engraving, in which the incisions are made by removing metal to form depressions in the plate surface which hold ink, although the two methods can be combined, as Rembrandt did. Because the pressure of printing destroys the burr, drypoint is useful only for comparatively small editions. Most impressions of Rembrandt prints on which drypoint was used show no burr, the drypoint lines are weak, leaving the etched portions still strong.
To counter this and allow for longer print runs, electroplating can harden the surface of a plate and allow the same edition size as produced by etchings and engravings. The technique appears to have been invented by the Housebook Master, a south German 15th-century artist, all of whose prints are in drypoint only. Among the most famous artists of the old master print Albrecht Dürer produced 3 drypoints before abandoning the technique; as intaglio techniques, they can all be used on the same plate. Alex Katz used this process to create several of his famous works, such as "Sunny" and "The Swimmer". In the 20th century many artists produced drypoints, including Max Beckmann, Milton Avery, Hermann-Paul. By adding aquatint work on the plate and inking with various colours, artists such as Mary Cassatt have produced colour drypoints. Canadian artist David Brown Milne is credited as the first to produce coloured drypoints by the use of multiple plates, one for each colour. On the West Coast of the United States the respected printmaker Pedro Joseph de Lemos simplified the methods for producing drypoints in art schools.
Any sharp object can theoretically be used to make a drypoint, as long as it can be used to carve lines into metal. Dentistry tools and metal files can all be used to produce drypoints. However, certain types of needles are created for drypoints: Diamond-tipped needles carve through any metal and never need sharpening, but they are expensive. Carbide-tipped steel needles can be used to great effect, are cheaper than diamond-tipped needles, but they need frequent sharpening to maintain a sharp point. Steel needles were traditionally used. Printing is the same as for the other intaglio techniques, but extra care is taken to preserve the burr. After the image is finished, or at least ready to proof, the artist applies ink to the plate with a dauber. Too much pressure will ruin the image. Once the plate is covered with a thin layer, a tarlatan cloth is used to wipe away excess ink, paper may be used for a final wipe of the lightest areas of the image; some printmakers will use their bare hand instead to wipe these areas.
Once the desired amount of ink is removed, the plate is run through an etching press along with a piece of dampened paper to produce a print. Drypoint wiping techniques vary from other intaglio techniques. Less pressure is applied to achieve desirable lines, because the burrs forming the image are more fragile than etched or engraved lines, but because the ink rests on the plate surface, instead of pressed down into indentations; because of the characteristics of the way the burrs catch ink, the direction of the wiping matters. Ink tends to pile up in the lee of the burr during the application of the ink and wiping with the tarlatan, so if the printer wipes in the direction of the lines with his hand, he may remove most of the ink, leaving a light gray line. However, if he wipes perpendicularly to the line, he can increase the pile of ink on the other side of the line, darkening the printed line. John Ross, The Complete Printmaker, 82–88. Carol Wax, The Mezzotint: History and Technique Prints & People: A Social History of Printed Pictures, an exhibition catalog from Th
Scriptorium "a place for writing", is used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the writing and illuminating of manuscripts by monastic scribes. When monastic institutions arose in the early 6th century, they defined European literary culture and selectively preserved the literary history of the West. Monks copied Jerome's Latin Vulgate Bible and the commentaries and letters of early Church Fathers for missionary purposes as well as for use within the monastery. In the copying process, there was a division of labor between the monks who readied the parchment for copying by smoothing and chalking the surface, those who ruled the parchment and copied the text, those who illuminated the text. Sometimes a single monk would engage in all of these stages to prepare a manuscript; the illuminators of manuscripts worked in collaboration with scribes in intricate varieties of interaction that preclude any simple understanding of monastic manuscript production. The products of the monasteries provided a valuable medium of exchange.
Comparisons of characteristic regional, periodic as well as contextual styles of handwriting do reveal social and cultural connections among them, as new hands developed and were disseminated by travelling individuals what these individuals represented, by the examples of manuscripts that passed from one cloister to another. Recent studies follow the approach, that scriptoria developed in relative isolation, to the extent that the paleographer is sometimes able to identify the product of each writing centre and to date it accordingly. By the start of the 13th century secular workshops developed, where professional scribes stood at writing-desks to work the orders of customers, during the Late Middle Ages the praxis of writing was becoming not only confined to being a monastic or regal activity. However, the practical consequences of private workshops, as well the invention of the printing press vis-a-vis monastic scriptoria is a complex theme. Much as medieval libraries do not correspond to the exalted sketches from Umberto Eco's "Name of the Rose,” it seems that ancient written accounts, as well as surviving buildings, archaeological excavations do not invariably attest to the evidence of scriptoria.
Scriptoria in the physical sense of a room set aside for the purpose mostly existed in response to specific scribal projects. References in modern scholarly writings to'scriptoria' refer to the collective written output of a monastery, somewhat like the chancery in the early regal times is taken to refer to a specific fashion of modelling formulars, but traditional is the view that scriptoria was a necessary adjunct to a library, as per the entry in du Cange, 1678'scriptorium'. At this church whose patron was Galla Placidia, paired rectangular chambers flanking the apse, accessible only from each aisle, have been interpreted as paired libraries and scriptoria; the well-lit niches.5 meter deep, provisions for hypocausts beneath the floors to keep the spaces dry, have prototypes in the architecture of Roman libraries. The monastery built in the second quarter of the 6th century under the supervision of Cassiodorus at the Vivarium near Squillace in southern Italy contained a scriptorium, for the purpose of collecting and preserving texts.
Cassiodorus' description of his monastery contained a purpose-built scriptorium, with a sundial, a water-clock, a "perpetual lamp," that is, one that supplied itself with oil from a reservoir. The scriptorium would have contained desks where the monks could sit and copy texts, as well as the necessary ink wells and quills. Cassiodorus established a library where, at the end of the Roman Empire, he attempted to bring Greek learning to Latin readers and to preserve texts both sacred and secular for future generations; as its unofficial librarian, Cassiodorus collected as many manuscripts as he could, he wrote treatises aimed at instructing his monks in the proper uses of texts. In the end, the library at the Vivarium was dispersed and lost, though it was still active around 630; the scriptoria of the Cistercian order seem to have been similar to those of the Benedictines. The mother house at Cîteaux, one of the best-documented high-medieval scriptoria, developed a severe "house style" in the first half of the 12th century.
The 12th-century scriptorium of Cîteaux and its products, in the context of Cistercian scriptoria, have been studied by Yolanta Załuska, L'enluminure et le scriptorium de Cîteaux au XIIe siècle 1989. In Byzantium or Eastern Roman Empire learning maintained importance and numerous monastic'scriptoria' were known for producing Bible/Gospel illuminations, along with workshops that copied numerous classical and Hellenistic works. Records show that one such monastic community was that of Mount Athos, which maintained a variety of illuminated manuscripts and accumulated over 10,000 books. Cassiodorus' contemporary, Benedict of Nursia, allowed his monks to read the great works of the pagans in the monastery he founded at Monte Cassino in 529; the creation of a library here initiated the tradition of Benedictine scriptoria, where the copying of texts not only provided materials needed in the routines of the community and served as work for hands and minds otherwise idle, but produced a marketable end-product.
Saint Jerome stated that the products of the scriptorium could be a source of revenue for the monastic community, but Benedict cautioned, "If there be skilled workmen in the monastery, let them work at their
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing, letter-spacing, adjusting the space between pairs of letters; the term typography is applied to the style and appearance of the letters and symbols created by the process. Type design is a related craft, sometimes considered part of typography. Typography may be used as a decorative device, unrelated to communication of information. Typography is the work of typesetters, graphic designers, art directors, manga artists, comic book artists, graffiti artists, now, anyone who arranges words, letters and symbols for publication, display, or distribution, from clerical workers and newsletter writers to anyone self-publishing materials; until the Digital Age, typography was a specialized occupation. Digitization opened up typography to new generations of unrelated designers and lay users; as the capability to create typography has become ubiquitous, the application of principles and best practices developed over generations of skilled workers and professionals has diminished.
So at a time when scientific techniques can support the proven traditions through understanding the limitations of human vision, typography as encountered may fail to achieve its principal objective: effective communication. The word "typography" in English comes from the Greek roots τύπος typos = "impression" and -γραφία -graphia = "writing". Although applied to printed, published and reproduced materials in contemporary times, all words, letters and numbers written alongside the earliest naturalistic drawings by humans may be called typography; the word, typography, is derived from the Greek words τύπος typos "form" or "impression" and γράφειν graphein "to write", traces its origins to the first punches and dies used to make seals and currency in ancient times, which ties the concept to printing. The uneven spacing of the impressions on brick stamps found in the Mesopotamian cities of Uruk and Larsa, dating from the second millennium B. C. may be evidence of type, wherein the reuse of identical characters was applied to create cuneiform text.
Babylonian cylinder seals were used to create an impression on a surface by rolling the seal on wet clay. Typography was implemented in the Phaistos Disc, an enigmatic Minoan printed item from Crete, which dates to between 1850 and 1600 B. C, it has been proposed that Roman lead pipe inscriptions were created with movable type printing, but German typographer Herbert Brekle dismissed this view. The essential criterion of type identity was met by medieval print artifacts such as the Latin Pruefening Abbey inscription of 1119, created by the same technique as the Phaistos Disc; the silver altarpiece of patriarch Pellegrinus II in the cathedral of Cividale was printed with individual letter punches. The same printing technique may be found in tenth to twelfth century Byzantine reliquaries. Other early examples include individual letter tiles where the words are formed by assembling single letter tiles in the desired order, which were reasonably widespread in medieval Northern Europe. Typography with movable type was invented during the eleventh-century Song dynasty in China by Bi Sheng.
His movable type system was manufactured from ceramic materials, clay type printing continued to be practiced in China until the Qing Dynasty. Wang Zhen was one of the pioneers of wooden movable type. Although the wooden type was more durable under the mechanical rigors of handling, repeated printing wore the character faces down and the types could be replaced only by carving new pieces. Metal movable type was first invented in Korea during the Goryeo Dynasty 1230. Hua Sui introduced bronze type printing to China in 1490 AD; the diffusion of both movable-type systems was limited and the technology did not spread beyond East and Central Asia, however. Modern lead-based movable type, along with the mechanical printing press, is most attributed to the goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg in 1439, his type pieces, made from a lead-based alloy, suited printing purposes so well that the alloy is still used today. Gutenberg developed specialized techniques for casting and combining cheap copies of letter punches in the vast quantities required to print multiple copies of texts.
This technical breakthrough was instrumental in starting the Printing Revolution and the first book printed with lead-based movable type was the Gutenberg Bible. Advancing technology revolutionized typography in the latter twentieth century. During the 1960s some camera-ready typesetting could be produced in any office or workshop with stand-alone machines such as those introduced by IBM. During the mid-1980s personal computers such as the Macintosh allowed type designers to create typefaces digitally using commercial graphic design software. Digital technology enabled designers to create more experimental typefaces as well as the practical typefaces of traditional typography. Designs for typefaces could be created faster with the new technology, for more specific functions; the cost for developing typefaces was drastically lowered, becoming available to the masses. The change has been called the "democratization of type" and has given new designers more opportunities to enter the field; the design of typefaces has de
Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Since the 1970s, various names have been used to describe the process, including computer art and multimedia art. Digital art is itself placed under the larger umbrella term new media art. After some initial resistance, the impact of digital technology has transformed activities such as painting, drawing and music/sound art, while new forms, such as net art, digital installation art, virtual reality, have become recognized artistic practices. More the term digital artist is used to describe an artist who makes use of digital technologies in the production of art. In an expanded sense, "digital art" is contemporary art that uses the methods of mass production or digital media; the techniques of digital art are used extensively by the mainstream media in advertisements, by film-makers to produce visual effects. Desktop publishing has had a huge impact on the publishing world, although, more related to graphic design.
Both digital and traditional artists use many sources of electronic information and programs to create their work. Given the parallels between visual and musical arts, it is possible that general acceptance of the value of digital visual art will progress in much the same way as the increased acceptance of electronically produced music over the last three decades. Digital art can be purely computer-generated or taken from other sources, such as a scanned photograph or an image drawn using vector graphics software using a mouse or graphics tablet. Though technically the term may be applied to art done using other media or processes and scanned in, it is reserved for art, non-trivially modified by a computing process. Artworks are considered digital painting when created in similar fashion to non-digital paintings but using software on a computer platform and digitally outputting the resulting image as painted on canvas. Andy Warhol created digital art using a Commodore Amiga where the computer was publicly introduced at the Lincoln Center, New York in July 1985.
An image of Debbie Harry was captured in monochrome from a video camera and digitized into a graphics program called ProPaint. Warhol manipulated the image adding colour by using flood fills. Digital visual art consists of either 2D visual information displayed on an electronic visual display or information mathematically translated into 3D information, viewed through perspective projection on an electronic visual display; the simplest is 2D computer graphics which reflect how you might draw using a pencil and a piece of paper. In this case, the image is on the computer screen and the instrument you draw with might be a tablet stylus or a mouse. What is generated on your screen might appear to be drawn with a pencil, pen or paintbrush; the second kind is 3D computer graphics, where the screen becomes a window into a virtual environment, where you arrange objects to be "photographed" by the computer. A 2D computer graphics use raster graphics as their primary means of source data representations, whereas 3D computer graphics use vector graphics in the creation of immersive virtual reality installations.
A possible third paradigm is to generate art in 2D or 3D through the execution of algorithms coded into computer programs and could be considered the native art form of the computer. That is, it cannot be produced without the computer. Fractal art, algorithmic art and real-time generative art are examples. 3D graphics are created via the process of designing imagery from geometric shapes, polygons or NURBS curves to create three-dimensional objects and scenes for use in various media such as film, print, rapid prototyping, games/simulations and special visual effects. There are many software programs for doing this; the technology can enable collaboration, lending itself to sharing and augmenting by a creative effort similar to the open source movement, the creative commons in which users can collaborate in a project to create art. Pop surrealist artist Ray Caesar works in Maya, using it to create his figures as well as the virtual realms in which they exist. Computer-generated animations are animations created with a computer, from digital models created by the 3D artists or procedurally generated.
The term is applied to works created with a computer. Movies make heavy use of computer-generated graphics. In the 1990s, early 2000s CGI advanced enough so that for the first time it was possible to create realistic 3D computer animation, although films had been using extensive computer images since the mid-70s. A number of modern films have been noted for their heavy use of photo realistic CGI. Digital installation art incorporates many forms; some resemble video installations large scale works involving projections and live video capture. By using projection techniques that enhance an audience’s impression of sensory envelopment, many digital installations attempt to create immersive environments. Others go further and attempt to facilitate a complete immersion in virtual realms; this type of installation is site-specific and without fixed dimensionality, meaning it can be reconfigured to accommodate different presentation spa
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented with such decoration as initials and miniature illustrations. In the strictest definition, the term refers only to manuscripts decorated with either gold or silver. Comparable Far Eastern and Mesoamerican works are described as painted. Islamic manuscripts may be referred to as illuminated, illustrated or painted, though using the same techniques as Western works; the earliest extant substantive illuminated manuscripts are from the period 400 to 600, produced in the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths and the Eastern Roman Empire. Their significance lies not only in their inherent artistic and historical value, but in the maintenance of a link of literacy offered by non-illuminated texts. Had it not been for the monastic scribes of Late Antiquity, most literature of Greece and Rome would have perished; as it was, the patterns of textual survivals were shaped by their usefulness to the constricted literate group of Christians. Illumination of manuscripts, as a way of aggrandizing ancient documents, aided their preservation and informative value in an era when new ruling classes were no longer literate, at least in the language used in the manuscripts.
The majority of extant manuscripts are from the Middle Ages, although many survive from the Renaissance, along with a limited number from Late Antiquity. The majority are of a religious nature. From the 13th century onward, an increasing number of secular texts were illuminated. Most illuminated manuscripts were created as codices. A few illuminated fragments survive on papyrus, which does not last nearly as long as parchment. Most medieval manuscripts, illuminated or not, were written on parchment, but most manuscripts important enough to illuminate were written on the best quality of parchment, called vellum. Beginning in the Late Middle Ages, manuscripts began to be produced on paper. Early printed books were sometimes produced with spaces left for rubrics and miniatures, or were given illuminated initials, or decorations in the margin, but the introduction of printing led to the decline of illumination. Illuminated manuscripts continued to be produced in the early 16th century but in much smaller numbers for the wealthy.
They are among the most common items to survive from the Middle Ages. They are the best surviving specimens of medieval painting, the best preserved. Indeed, for many areas and time periods, they are the only surviving examples of painting. Art historians classify illuminated manuscripts into their historic periods and types, including Late Antique, Carolingian manuscripts, Ottonian manuscripts, Romanesque manuscripts, Gothic manuscripts, Renaissance manuscripts. There are a few examples from periods; the type of book most heavily and richly illuminated, sometimes known as a "display book", varied between periods. In the first millennium, these were most to be Gospel Books, such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells; the Romanesque period saw the creation of many large illuminated complete Bibles – one in Sweden requires three librarians to lift it. Many Psalters were heavily illuminated in both this and the Gothic period. Single cards or posters of vellum, leather or paper were in wider circulation with short stories or legends on them about the lives of saints, chivalry knights or other mythological figures criminal, social or miraculous occurrences.
The Book of Hours commonly the personal devotional book of a wealthy layperson, was richly illuminated in the Gothic period. Other books, both liturgical and not, continued to be illuminated at all periods; the Byzantine world produced manuscripts in its own style, versions of which spread to other Orthodox and Eastern Christian areas. The Muslim World and in particular the Iberian Peninsula, with their traditions of literacy uninterrupted by the Middle Ages, were instrumental in delivering ancient classic works to the growing intellectual circles and universities of Western Europe all through the 12th century, as books were produced there in large numbers and on paper for the first time in Europe, with them full treatises on the sciences astrology and medicine where illumination was required to have profuse and accurate representations with the text; the Gothic period, which saw an increase in the production of these artifacts saw more secular works such as chronicles and works of literature illuminated.
Wealthy people began to build up personal libraries. Up to the 12th century, most manuscripts were produced in monasteries in order to add to the library or after receiving a commission from a wealthy patron. Larger monasteries contained separate areas for the monks who specialized in the production of manuscripts called a scriptorium. Within the walls of a scriptorium were individualized areas where a monk could sit and work on a manuscript without being disturbed by his fellow brethren. If no scriptorium was available “separate little rooms were assigned to book copying.
Line engraving is a term for engraved images printed on paper to be used as prints or illustrations. The term is now much less used and when is, it is in connection with 18th or 19th century commercial illustrations for magazines and books, or reproductions of paintings. Steel engraving is an overlapping term, for images that in fact are mainly in etching used for banknotes, illustrations for books and decorative prints reproductive, from about 1820 to the early 20th century, when the technique became less used. Copperplate engraving is another somewhat outdated term for engravings. With photography long established, engravings made today are nearly all artistic ones in printmaking, but the technique is not as common as it used to be. Engraving for the purpose of printmaking creates plates for intaglio printing. Intaglio engravings are made by carving into a plate of a hard substance such as copper, steel, or plastic. Afterward ink is rubbed into the carved areas and away from the flat surface.
Moistened paper is placed over the plate and both are run through the rollers of an intaglio press. The pressure exerted by the press on the paper pushes it into the engraved lines and prints the image made by those lines. In an intaglio print, the engraved lines print black. Wood engraving is a relief printing technique, with the images made by carving into fine-grained hardwood blocks. Ink is rolled onto the surface of the block, dry paper is placed on top of the block and it is printed either by rolling both through a press, or, by hand, using a baren to rub the ink from the surface of the block onto the paper. In a relief print, the engraved lines show white; the art of engraving has been practiced from the earliest ages. The prehistoric Aztec hatchet given to Alexander von Humboldt in Mexico was just as engraved as a modern copper-plate which may convey a design by John Flaxman. Jewelry and many types of fine metal works are engraved as well as furniture. Engraving is used as an embellishment of knives, swords and rifles.
The important discovery which made line engraving one of the multiplying arts was the accidental discovery of how to print an incised line. This method was known for some time; the goldsmiths of Florence in the middle of the 15th century ornamented their works by means of engraving, after which they filled up the hollows produced by the burin with a black enamel-like substance made of silver and sulfur. The resulting design, called a niello, was much more visible; as this enamel was difficult to remove, goldsmiths developed alternate means of viewing their work while still in progress. They would take a sulfur cast of the work on a matrix of fine clay, fill up the lines in the sulfur with lampblack, producing the desired high-contrast image, it was discovered that a proof could be taken on damped paper by filling the engraved lines with ink and wiping it off the surface of the plate. Pressure was applied to push the paper into the hollowed lines and draw the ink out of them; this was the beginning of plate printing.
This convenient way of proofing a niello saved the effort of producing a cast, but further implications went unexplored. Although goldsmiths continued to engrave nielli to ornament plates and furniture, it was not until the late 15th century that the new method of printing was implemented. In early Italian and German prints, the line is used with such perfect simplicity of purpose that the methods of the artists are as obvious as if we saw them at work. In all these figures the outline is the primary focus, followed by the lines which mark the leading folds of the drapery; these are always engravers' lines, such as may be made with the burin, they never imitate the freer line of the pencil or etching needle. Shading is used in the greatest moderation with thin straight strokes that never overpower the stronger organic lines of the design. In early metal engraving the shading lines are cross-hatched. In the earliest woodcuts they are not; the reason being that when lines are incised, they may as be crossed, as not.
Whereas when they are reserved, the crossing involves much non-artistic labor. The early style of Italian engravers differs from that of a modern chiaroscurist. Mantegna, for example, did not shade at the same time, he got his outlines and the patterns on his dresses all accurate initially. He added a veil of shading with all the lines being straight and all the shading diagonal; this is the primitive method, its peculiarities being due to a combination of natural genius with technical inexperience. Marcantonio, the engraver trained by Raphael, first practiced by copying German woodcuts into line engravings. Marcantonio became an engraver of remarkable power and through him, the pure art of line-engraving reached its maturity, he retained much of the simplistic early Italian manner in his backgrounds. His figures are modeled boldly in curved lines, crossing each other in the darker shades, but left single in the passages from dark to light and breaking away in fine dots as they approach the light itself, of pure white paper.
A new Italian school of engraving was born, which put aside minute details for a broad, harmonious treatment. The characteristics of early metal engraving in Germany are demonstrated in the works of Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer. Schongauer used outline and shade as a unified element, the shading in curved lines, his skill is far more masterl