Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch post-impressionist painter, among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life, they include landscapes, still lifes and self-portraits, are characterised by bold colours and dramatic and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. However, he was not commercially successful, his suicide at 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty. Born into an upper-middle-class family, Van Gogh drew as a child and was serious and thoughtful; as a young man he worked as an art dealer travelling, but became depressed after he was transferred to London. He spent time as a Protestant missionary in southern Belgium, he drifted in ill health and solitude before taking up painting in 1881, having moved back home with his parents. His younger brother Theo supported him financially, the two kept up a long correspondence by letter.
His early works still lifes and depictions of peasant labourers, contain few signs of the vivid colour that distinguished his work. In 1886, he moved to Paris, where he met members of the avant-garde, including Émile Bernard and Paul Gauguin, who were reacting against the Impressionist sensibility; as his work developed he created a new approach to still lifes and local landscapes. His paintings grew brighter in colour as he developed a style that became realised during his stay in Arles in the south of France in 1888. During this period he broadened his subject matter to include series of olive trees, wheat fields and sunflowers. Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and though he worried about his mental stability, he neglected his physical health, did not eat properly and drank heavily, his friendship with Gauguin ended after a confrontation with a razor when, in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear. He spent time including a period at Saint-Rémy. After he discharged himself and moved to the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris, he came under the care of the homeopathic doctor Paul Gachet.
His depression continued and on 27 July 1890, Van Gogh shot himself in the chest with a Lefaucheux revolver. He died from his injuries two days later. Van Gogh was unsuccessful during his lifetime, was considered a madman and a failure, he became famous after his suicide, exists in the public imagination as the quintessential misunderstood genius, the artist "where discourses on madness and creativity converge". His reputation began to grow in the early 20th century as elements of his painting style came to be incorporated by the Fauves and German Expressionists, he attained widespread critical and popular success over the ensuing decades, is remembered as an important but tragic painter, whose troubled personality typifies the romantic ideal of the tortured artist. Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have sold at auction, his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.
The most comprehensive primary source on Van Gogh is the correspondence between him and his younger brother, Theo. Their lifelong friendship, most of what is known of Vincent's thoughts and theories of art, are recorded in the hundreds of letters they exchanged from 1872 until 1890. Theo van Gogh was an art dealer and provided his brother with financial and emotional support, access to influential people on the contemporary art scene. Theo kept all of Vincent's letters to him. After both had died, Theo's widow Johanna arranged for the publication of some of their letters. A few appeared in 1906 and 1913. Vincent's letters are eloquent and expressive and have been described as having a "diary-like intimacy", read in parts like autobiography; the translator Arnold Pomerans wrote that their publication adds a "fresh dimension to the understanding of Van Gogh's artistic achievement, an understanding granted us by no other painter". There are more than 600 letters from around 40 from Theo to Vincent.
There are 22 to his sister Wil, 58 to the painter Anthon van Rappard, 22 to Émile Bernard as well as individual letters to Paul Signac, Paul Gauguin and the critic Albert Aurier. Some are illustrated with sketches. Many are undated. Problems in transcription and dating remain with those posted from Arles. While there Vincent wrote around 200 letters in Dutch and English. There is a gap in the record when he lived in Paris as the brothers lived together and had no need to correspond. Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 into a Dutch Reformed family in Groot-Zundert, in the predominantly Catholic province of North Brabant in the southern Netherlands, he was the oldest surviving child of Theodorus van Gogh, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, Anna Cornelia Carbentus. Van Gogh was given the name of his grandfather, of a brother stillborn a year before his birth. Vincent was a common name in the Van Gogh family: his grandfather, who received a degree in theology at the University of Leiden in 1811, had six sons, three of whom became art dealers.
This Vincent may have been named after a sculptor. Van Gogh's mother came from a prosperous family in The Hague, his father was the youngest son of a minister; the two
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. With a population of about 430,000, it is one of the smaller capitals of Europe but still the country's largest city; the greater metropolitan area is home to more than 650,000 people. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia, occupying both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital; the city's history has been influenced by people of different nations and religions, namely Austrians, Croats, Germans, Jews and Slovaks. It was the coronation site and legislative center of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1536 to 1783, has been home to many Slovak and German historical figures. Bratislava is the political and economic centre of Slovakia, it is the seat of the parliament and the Slovak Executive. It has several universities, many museums, theatres and other cultural and educational institutions. Many of Slovakia's large businesses and financial institutions have headquarters there. In 2017, Bratislava was ranked as the third richest region of the European Union by GDP per capita.
GDP at purchasing power parity is about three times higher than in other Slovak regions. Bratislava receives around 1 million tourists every year; the city received its contemporary name in 1919. Until it was known in English by its German name, since after 1526 it was dominated by the Habsburg Monarchy and the city had a relevant ethnic-German population; that is the term from which the pre-1919 Czech names are derived. The city's Hungarian name, was given after the castle's first castellan, "Poson"; the origin of the name is unclear: it might come from the Czech Pos or the German Poscho, which are personal names. The medieval settlement Brezalauspurc is sometimes attributed to Bratislava, but the actual location of Brezalauspurc is under scholarly debate; the city's modern name is credited to Pavel Jozef Šafárik's misinterpretation of Braslav as Bratislav in his analysis of mediaeval sources, which led him to invent the term Břetislaw, which became Bratislav. During the revolution of 1918–1919, the name'Wilsonov' or'Wilsonstadt' was proposed by American Slovaks, as he supported national self-determination.
The name Bratislava, used only by some Slovak patriots, became official in March 1919. Other alternative names of the city in the past include Greek: Ιστρόπολις Istropolis, Czech: Prešpurk, French: Presbourg, Italian: Presburgo, Latin: Posonium, Romanian: Pojon and Serbo-Croatian: Požun / Пожун. In older documents, confusion can be caused by the Latin forms Bratislavia, Wratislavia etc. which refer to Wrocław, not Bratislava. The first known permanent settlement of the area began with the Linear Pottery Culture, around 5000 BC in the Neolithic era. About 200 BC, the Celtic Boii tribe founded the first significant settlement, a fortified town known as an oppidum, they established a mint, producing silver coins known as biatecs. The area fell under Roman influence from the 1st to the 4th century AD and was made part of the Danubian Limes, a border defence system; the Romans introduced grape growing to the area and began a tradition of winemaking, which survives to the present. The Slavs arrived from the East between the 6th centuries during the Migration Period.
As a response to onslaughts by Avars, the local Slavic tribes rebelled and established Samo's Empire, the first known Slavic political entity. In the 9th century, the castles at Bratislava and Devín were important centres of the Slavic states: the Principality of Nitra and Great Moravia. Scholars have debated the identification as fortresses of the two castles built in Great Moravia, based on linguistic arguments and because of the absence of convincing archaeological evidence; the first written reference to a settlement named "Brezalauspurc" dates to 907 and is related to the Battle of Pressburg, during which a Bavarian army was defeated by the Hungarians. It is connected to the fall of Great Moravia weakened by its own inner decline and under the attacks of the Hungarians; the exact location of the battle remains unknown, some interpretations place it west of Lake Balaton. In the 10th century, the territory of Pressburg became part of Hungary, it developed as a key administrative centre on the kingdom's frontier.
This strategic position destined the city to be the site of frequent attacks and battles, but brought it economic development and high political status. It was granted its first known "town privileges" in 1291 by the Hungarian King Andrew III, was declared a free royal town in 1405 by King Sigismund. In 1436 he authorized the town to use its own coat of arms; the Kingdom of Hungary was defeated by the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Mohács in 1526. The Turks failed to conquer it. Owing to Ottoman advances into Hungarian territory, the city was designated the new capital of Hungary in 1536, after becoming part of the Habsburg Monarchy and marking the beginning of a new era; the city became a coronation town and the seat of kings, the nobility and all major organisations and offices. Between 1536 and 1830, eleven Hungarian kings and queens were crowned at St. Martin's Cathedral. The
Košice is the largest city in eastern Slovakia and in 2013 was the European Capital of Culture. It is situated on the river Hornád at the eastern reaches of the Slovak Ore Mountains, near the border with Hungary. With a population of 240,000 Košice is the second largest city in Slovakia after the capital Bratislava. Being the economic and cultural centre of eastern Slovakia, Košice is the seat of the Košice Region and Košice Self-governing Region, the Slovak Constitutional Court, three universities, various dioceses, many museums and theatres. Košice is an important industrial centre of Slovakia, the U. S. Steel Košice steel mill is the largest employer in the city; the town has an international airport. The city has a well-preserved historical centre, the largest among Slovak towns. There are many heritage protected buildings in Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles with Slovakia's largest church: the St. Elisabeth Cathedral; the long main street, rimmed with aristocratic palaces, Catholic churches, townsfolk's houses, is a thriving pedestrian zone with many boutiques, cafés, restaurants.
The city is well known as the first settlement in Europe to be granted its own coat-of-arms. The first written mention of the city was in 1230 as "Villa Cassa"; the Slovak name of the city comes from the Slavic personal name Koša with the patronymic Slavic suffix "-ice". The city may derive its name from Old Slovak kosa, "clearing", related to modern Slovak kosiť, "to reap". Though according to other sources the city name may derive from an old Hungarian first name which begins with "Ko"; the city has been known as Kaschau in German, Kassa in Hungarian, Kaşa in Turkish, Cassovia in Latin, Cassovie in French, Cașovia in Romanian, Кошице in Russian, Koszyce in Polish and קאשוי Kashoy in Yiddish. Below is a chronology of the various names: The first evidence of inhabitance can be traced back to the end of the Paleolithic era; the first written reference to the Hungarian town of Kassa comes from 1230. After the Mongol invasion in 1241, King Béla IV of Hungary invited German colonists to fill the gaps in population.
The city was in the historic Abauj County of the Kingdom of Hungary. The city was made of two independent settlements: Lower Kassa and Upper Kassa, amalgamated in the 13th century around the long lens-formed ring, of today's Main Street; the first known town privileges come from 1290. The city grew because of its strategic location on an international trade route from agriculturally rich central Hungary to central Poland, itself along a greater route connecting the Balkans and the Adriatic and Aegean seas to the Baltic Sea; the privileges given by the king were helpful in developing crafts, increasing importance, for building its strong fortifications. In 1307, the first guild regulations were the oldest in Kingdom of Hungary; as a Hungarian free royal town, Kassa reinforced the king's troops in the crucial moment of the bloody Battle of Rozgony in 1312 against the strong aristocratic Palatine Amadé Aba. In 1347, it became the second place city in the hierarchy of the Hungarian free royal towns with the same rights as the capital Buda.
In 1369, it received its own coat of arms from Louis I of Hungary. The Diet convened by Louis I in Kassa decided; the significance and wealth of the city in the end of the 14th century was mirrored by the decision to build a new church on the grounds of the destroyed smaller St. Elisabeth Church; the construction of the biggest cathedral in the Kingdom of Hungary – St. Elisabeth Cathedral – was supported by the Emperor Sigismund, by the apostolic see itself. Since the beginning of the 15th century, the city played a leading role in the Pentapolitana – the league of towns of five most important cities in Upper Hungary. During the reign of King Hunyadi Mátyás the city reached its medieval population peak. With an estimated 10,000 Hungarian inhabitants, it was among the largest medieval cities in Europe; the history of Kassa was influenced by the dynastic disputes over the Hungarian throne, which together with the decline of the continental trade brought the city into stagnation. Vladislaus III of Varna failed to capture the city in 1441.
John Jiskra's mercenaries from Bohemia defeated Tamás Székely's Hungarian army in 1449. John I Albert, Prince of Poland, could not capture the city during a six-month-long siege in 1491. In 1526, the city homaged for Holy Roman Emperor. John Zápolya captured the city in 1536 but Ferdinand I reconquered the city in 1551. In 1554, the settlement became the seat of the Captaincy of Upper Hungary. In 1604, Catholics seized the Lutheran church in Kassa; the Calvinist Stephen Bocskay occupied Kassa during his Protestant, Ottoman-backed insurrection against the Habsburg dynasty. The future George I Rákóczi joined him as a military commander there. Giorgio Basta, commander of the Habsburg forces, failed in his attempt to capture the city. At the Treaty of Vienna, in return for giving territory including Kassa back, the rebels won the Hapsburg concession of religious toleration for the Magyar nobility and brokered an Austrian-Turkish peace treaty. Stephen Bocskay was interred there. For some decades during the 17th century Kassa was part of the Principality of Transylvania, a part of the Ottoman Empire and was referred to as Kaşa in Turkish.
On September 5, 1619, the pr
Liptovský Mikuláš is a town in northern Slovakia, on the Váh River, about 285 kilometres from Bratislava. It lies in Liptov Basin near the Low Tatra and Tatra mountains; the town, known as Liptovský Svätý Mikuláš before communist times, is renowned as a town of guilds and culture. From the second half of the 10th century until 1918, it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary; the town of Mikuláš was first mentioned in the royal deed of King Ladislaus IV in 1286. The first written record mentioning the Church of Saint Nicolaus, to become the founding element of a larger settlement dates back to 1299; the Church of Saint Nicolaus is the oldest building in the town of Liptovský Mikuláš. Mikuláš was one of the most important centres of crafts in the Liptov region; the craftsmen formed guilds. The oldest guild was the shoemaker's guild mentioned in 1508. There were other guilds: the guild of smiths, tailors and butchers. In 1677, Liptovský Mikuláš became the seat of the local district, as well as Liptó county.
The legendary Slovak "Robin Hood" Juraj Jánošík was sentenced and executed here in 1713 by being hung by the ribcage on a hook. Liptovský Mikuláš played an important role for Slovaks in the 19th century during the period of magyarization, it was one of the centres of Slovak national movement. The first Slovak theater was founded there in 1830 called "The theater of G. F. Belopotocký". Liptovský Mikuláš was a home to an important Slovak romantic poet and national activist, Janko Kráľ, fighting for the right of self-determination of Slovak nation in the Hungarian Empire. Another national revivalist Michal Miloslav Hodža lived there; the leader of Slovak national revival, Ľudovít Štúr, publicly revealed a document called "The demands of Slovak nation" in 1848 in Liptovský Mikuláš as an official appeal to the leaders of Austrian-Hungarian empire to help solve the present existentional problems of Slovak people. In the 20th century, many once independent villages were annexed to Liptovský Mikuláš.
Thus, what was once the bucolic farmers' hamlet of Vrbica is now a street in the middle of the town. The town is one of the most famous tourist centres in Slovakia because of its rich cultural life and because it is a perfect starting point for tourists, from where it is easy to reach the Low Tatras with well-known caves such as the Demänová Ice Cave or Demänová Cave of Freedom, or to the Western Tatras. Folk architecture can be seen nearby in Vlkolínec near Ružomberok, or Pribylina, a few kilometres west of the town, for recreation the lake called Liptovská Mara is available. Since 2004 a new aquapark called; the area is well-known due to its location close to the biggest ski resort in Slovakia, Jasná. Many modern lifts and recent additions made to its infrastructure have meant it has become a popular ski centre for many western tourists over the last few years. According to the 2001 census, the town had 33,007 inhabitants. 94.07 % of inhabitants were 2.30 % Roma, 2.10 % Czech and 0.28 % Hungarians.
The religious make-up was 34.48% Roman Catholics, 32.26% people with no religious affiliation, 26.85% Lutherans. According to the Hungarian census of 1910, the population make up was 50% Slovak, 30% Hungarian 20% German. After WWII, the ethnic minorities were expelled leaving a majority Slovak population. Ice hockey: MHk 32 Liptovský Mikuláš played in the Slovak Extraliga until 2010 playing in the First League; the Ondrej Cibak Whitewater Slalom Course on the nearby Váh river is the oldest whitewater slalom course in Slovakia. The 2008 Olympic champion in canoe slalom, C-1, Michal Martikán lives here. Elena Kaliská, another Olympic winner, is a member of the town sports club. A new raised sport talent Petra Vlhová was born and lives in Liptovský Mikuláš. Liptovský Mikuláš hosted the 2012 FAI World Championship for Space Models, taking place from 31 August to 9 September. Liptovský Mikuláš is located near the main Slovak D1 motorway, as well as being on the main railroad from Bratislava to Košice.
The closest international airport is in Poprad. The town has its own public transport network with 13 lines operating. Liptovský Mikuláš is twinned with: Jozef Božetech Klemens, painter Janko Kráľ, poet Ján Levoslav Bella, composer Aurel Stodola, physicist Samuel Fischer, publisher Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, inventor Ivan Stodola, dramatist, doctor Martin Rázus, author, politician Janko Alexy, painter Koloman Sokol, painter Mária Rázusová-Martáková, author Ladislav Hanus, theologian, author Pavol Strauss, writer, translator Ivan Laučík, professor Michal Martikán, sportsman Peter Sejna, AHL/NHL player Martin Cibák, 2004 Stanley cup winner with Tampa Bay Lightning Milan Jurčina, NHL player Diana Doll, model Petra Vlhová, ski racer Klaudia Medlová, professional snowboarder / Olympian Notes Official website
Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. Mexico City is one of the most important financial centres in the Americas, it is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters. The city has 16 boroughs; the 2009 population for the city proper was 8.84 million people, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometers. According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the population of Greater Mexico City is 21.3 million, which makes it the largest metropolitan area of the Western Hemisphere, the eleventh-largest agglomeration, the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world. Greater Mexico City has a GDP of $411 billion in 2011, making Greater Mexico City one of the most productive urban areas in the world; the city was responsible for generating 15.8% of Mexico's GDP, the metropolitan area accounted for about 22% of total national GDP.
If it were an independent country, in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy in Latin America, five times as large as Costa Rica and about the same size as Peru. Mexico’s capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by Native Americans, the other being Quito, Ecuador; the city was built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, as of 1585, it was known as Ciudad de México. Mexico City was the political and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the federal district was created in 1824. After years of demanding greater political autonomy, residents were given the right to elect both a Head of Government and the representatives of the unicameral Legislative Assembly by election in 1997.
Since, the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution has controlled both of them. The city has several progressive policies, such as abortion on request, a limited form of euthanasia, no-fault divorce, same-sex marriage. On January 29, 2016, it ceased to be the Federal District, is now known as Ciudad de México, with a greater degree of autonomy. A clause in the Constitution of Mexico, prevents it from becoming a state, as it is the seat of power in the country, unless the capital of the country were relocated elsewhere; the city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in 1325. The old Mexica city, now referred to as Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico, which it shared with a smaller city-state called Tlatelolco. According to legend, the Mexicas' principal god, indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting a golden eagle perched on a prickly pear devouring a rattlesnake. Between 1325 and 1521, Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco and in the Valley of Mexico.
When the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec Empire had reached much of Mesoamerica, touching both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. After landing in Veracruz, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés advanced upon Tenochtitlan with the aid of many of the other native peoples, arriving there on November 8, 1519. Cortés and his men marched along the causeway leading into the city from Iztapalapa, the city's ruler, Moctezuma II, greeted the Spaniards. Cortés put Moctezuma under house arrest. Tensions increased until, on the night of June 30, 1520 – during a struggle known as "La Noche Triste" – the Aztecs rose up against the Spanish intrusion and managed to capture or drive out the Europeans and their Tlaxcalan allies. Cortés regrouped at Tlaxcala; the Aztecs thought the Spaniards were permanently gone, they elected a new king, Cuitláhuac, but he soon died. Cortés began a siege of Tenochtitlan in May 1521. For three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans.
Cortés and his allies landed their forces in the south of the island and fought their way through the city. Cuauhtémoc surrendered in August 1521; the Spaniards razed Tenochtitlan during the final siege of the conquest. Cortés first settled in Coyoacán, but decided to rebuild the Aztec site to erase all traces of the old order, he did not establish a territory under his own personal rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crown. The first Spanish viceroy arrived in Mexico City fourteen years later. By that time, the city had again become a city-state, having power that extended far beyond its borders. Although the Spanish preserved Tenochtitlan's basic layout, they built Catholic churches over the old Aztec temples and claimed the imperial palaces for themselves. Tenochtitlan was renamed "Mexico"; the city had been the capital of the Aztec empire and in the colonial era, Mexico City became the capital of New Spain. The viceroy of Mexico or vice-king lived in the viceregal palace on Zócalo; the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishopric of New Spain, was const
Woodcut is a relief printing technique in printmaking. An artist carves an image into the surface of a block of wood—typically with gouges—leaving the printing parts level with the surface while removing the non-printing parts. Areas that the artist cuts away carry no ink, while characters or images at surface level carry the ink to produce the print; the block is cut along the wood grain. The surface is covered with ink by rolling over the surface with an ink-covered roller, leaving ink upon the flat surface but not in the non-printing areas. Multiple colors can be printed by keying the paper to a frame around the woodblocks; the art of carving the woodcut can be called "xylography", but this is used in English for images alone, although that and "xylographic" are used in connection with block books, which are small books containing text and images in the same block. They became popular in Europe during the latter half of the 15th century. A single-sheet woodcut is a woodcut presented as a single image or print, as opposed to a book illustration.
Since it's origins in China, the practice of woodcut has spread across the world from Europe, to other parts of Asia, to Latin America. In both Europe and the Far East, traditionally the artist only designed the woodcut, the block-carving was left to specialist craftsmen, called block-cutters, or Formschneider in Germany, some of whom became well-known in their own right. Among these, the best-known are the 16th-century Hieronymus Andreae, Hans Lützelburger and Jost de Negker, all of whom ran workshops and operated as printers and publishers; the formschneider in turn handed the block on to specialist printers. There were further specialists; this is why woodcuts are sometimes described by museums or books as "designed by" rather than "by" an artist. The division of labour had the advantage that a trained artist could adapt to the medium easily, without needing to learn the use of woodworking tools. There were various methods of transferring the artist's drawn design onto the block for the cutter to follow.
Either the drawing would be made directly onto the block, or a drawing on paper was glued to the block. Either way, the artist's drawing was destroyed during the cutting process. Other methods were used, including tracing. In both Europe and the Far East in the early 20th century, some artists began to do the whole process themselves. In Japan, this movement was called sōsaku-hanga, as opposed to shin-hanga, a movement that retained traditional methods. In the West, many artists used the easier technique of linocut instead. Compared to intaglio techniques like etching and engraving, only low pressure is required to print; as a relief method, it is only necessary to ink the block and bring it into firm and contact with the paper or cloth to achieve an acceptable print. In Europe, a variety of woods including boxwood and several nut and fruit woods like pear or cherry were used. There are three methods of printing to consider: Stamping: Used for many fabrics and most early European woodcuts; these were printed by putting the paper/fabric on a table or other flat surface with the block on top, pressing or hammering the back of the block.
Rubbing: Apparently the most common method for Far Eastern printing on paper at all times. Used for European woodcuts and block-books in the fifteenth century, widely for cloth. Used for many Western woodcuts from about 1910 to the present; the block goes face up with the paper or fabric on top. The back is rubbed with a "hard pad, a flat piece of wood, a burnisher, or a leather frotton". A traditional Japanese tool used for this is called a baren. In Japan, complex wooden mechanisms were used to help hold the woodblock still and to apply proper pressure in the printing process; this was helpful once multiple colors were introduced and had to be applied with precision atop previous ink layers. Printing in a press: presses only seem to have been used in Asia in recent times. Printing-presses were used from about 1480 for European prints and block-books, before that for woodcut book illustrations. Simple weighted presses may have been used in Europe before the print-press, but firm evidence is lacking.
A deceased Abbess of Mechelen in 1465 had "unum instrumentum ad imprintendum scripturas et ymagines... cum 14 aliis lapideis printis"—"an instrument for printing texts and pictures... with 14 stones for printing". This is too early to be a Gutenberg-type printing press in that location. Main articles Old master print for Europe, Woodblock printing in Japan for Japan, Lubok for Russia Woodcut originated in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and on paper; the earliest woodblock printed fragments to survive are from China, from the Han dynasty, are of silk printed with flowers in three colours. "In the 13th century the Chinese technique of blockprinting was transmitted to Europe." Paper arrived in Europe from China via al-Andalus later, was being manufactured in Italy by the end of the thirteenth century, in Burgundy and Germany by the end of the fourteenth. In Europe, woodcut is the oldest technique used for old master prints, developing about 1400, by using, on paper, existing techniques for printing.
One of the more ancient woodcuts on paper that can be seen today is The Fire Madonna, in the Cat