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When You Want To Identify Old Prints and Engravings

Tom Sapinski old engravings for sale old prints for sale

Identifying a piece of art isn’t as simple as it seems. Before you begin your research on its artist or its worth, you need to understand what it is. Old prints come in different forms. To tell the difference between their print methods, you need a trained eye and of course, a magnifying glass.
When you understand the artistic methods along with their corresponding tools, it becomes easy to distinguish between prints on papers and mediums like ink, paint, and charcoal. Here, we have mentioned different types of prints and how to identify each technique.

Relief Printing
Relief printing is an ancient method, in which the artist sketches onto a hard surface like a woodblock to carve out different areas. This block is used as a rubber stamp to press the carvings onto the paper. While the carved out areas don’t receive ink, the remaining raised portion is inked to create designs. The method was majorly practiced in China, in the 9th Century, soon after the invention of paper. Later Europeans picked up the technique, followed by the Japanese in the 18th Century.
Working with a block of wood requires certain tools. While looking for such an art piece, pay attention to strokes form due to knife carving and round scoop marks because of gouging. Sometimes Linocuts have been used, instead of woodcuts, for a smoother appearance.

Intaglio Printing
The name of the technique is derived from intagliare, an Italian word, which means to incise. In the Intaglio printing process, the image is scratched, cut or etched into the plate or printing surface. Then the artist covers the entire printing surface with ink. The ink fills in and settles the image crevices and the plate is wiped clean. The printing frame is pressed onto the paper later.
The technique is opposite to the Relief Printing technique and the most common identifying method is the smooth print pressure of the printing surface against the paper.

Planographic Prints
The Planographic prints resemble paintings on flat surfaces. You’ll notice the ink is neither pressed down onto the printing surface nor pulled from incisions. The most common methods of planographic printing are lithography and serigraphy. While creating a lithograph, the artist used a greasy liquid or crayon to draw images on a plate of limestone and wash it with water. Then he rolls printing ink onto the surface, allowing ink to stick to oily areas while leaving the remaining blank spaces unlinked. In Serigraphy, the artist uses stencils to place them over a screen and apply the ink and paint over the open areas.

The understanding of printing techniques makes it easy for you to buy old prints and engravings.

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