engraving(redirected from Engravings)
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See A. M. Hind, History of Engraving and Etching (1923, repr. 1963); A. Gross, Etching, Engraving, and Intaglio Printing (1970); G. Duplessis, Wonders of Engraving (1989).
the cutting of a picture, ornament, or inscription on the surface of hard materials—metal, stone, wood, glass, or linoleum—with a burin or other instrument (acid is also used to etch on metal and glass). In engraving the design may be raised (in relief) or depressed below the surface. Engraving is used to make printing plates from which impressions are taken, to prepare the rollers of machines for printing textiles and wallpaper, and to finish small sculptured objects. Jewelry and weapons are often ornamented with engravings in combination with chasing, gilding, niello, and enamel. Engraving on bone (known since the Paleolithic era) and on metal is a widely practiced form of folk art.
(1) An impression on paper or a similar material made by a plate on which the design has been formed by incision.
(2) A kind of graphic art that includes many different ways of treating plates and taking impressions from them. Depending on which parts of the plate are covered with ink during printing, the engravings are designated as either intaglio or relief. Often lithography, or flat engraving, the process of which is not connected with engraving processes, is also classified as engraving. Different means of artistic expression (contour lines, hatching, spots, tone, and sometimes color) are used for different graphic purposes: to make illustrations, type, and ornaments in books and other printed editions, albums, display prints, cheap popular prints, leaflets, bookplates, and applied objects. A specific property of engraving is its suitability for multiple reproduction (that is, production of a large number of prints of equal excellence) and its adaptability to different styles depending on the degree of hardness of the material used.
In relief engraving, all the parts of the plate that surround the drawing are cut out with knives, chisels, gouges, or burins to a depth of 2–5 mm. Thus, the design is raised above the ground, forming a relief with a flat surface. The ink is applied with a dabber or roller, and then the sheet of paper onto which the picture is transferred is pressed evenly on the plate, manually or on a printing press. Relief engraving includes woodcut and wood engraving (xylography), linocut, and relief engraving on metal, which was done up to the end of the 15th century using plates of copper, brass, tin, or lead on which the design was cut with a burin. Woodcuts, produced by cutting out the lines of the pictorial design with a knife on a block of soft wood sawed along the grain and gouging out the wood between them with a chisel, are characterized by contrasting relations of white and black and a generalized pictorial representation that often achieves a heightened emotional effect. In wood engraving fine lines are cut with an engraving tool on blocks of hard wood sawed against the grain, and these lines come out white in the prints. Combinations of lines make it possible to create different tones, so that paintings and tonal drawings can be reproduced. Linocut. similar in technique, usually has stronger contrasts and often thick, uneven lines.
In intaglio engraving, the pictorial design is sunk below the surface of the plate by mechanical or chemical means such as the etching with acid. The plate is of copper, brass, zinc. iron, or steel, and the ink is forced into the depressions with dabbers. The plate is then covered with damp paper and rolled between the rollers of a printing press. Drypoint, done by cutting lines on the surface of the metal with a burin, has a clear-cut purely lineal structure in its design, with the direction of the lines and the variations in their thickness recreating in an expressive manner the plastic qualities of the object represented. In an etching (a design scratched into the acid-resistant resinous ground of a metal plate with a needle-shaped tool, and then treated with acid) and in drypoint (a design scratched directly on a metal plate) the free play of the pictorial lines makes it possible to express movement, structure, and airiness, as well as emotional and psychological nuances. The possibility of an unconstrained depiction of a concept has attracted painters, sculptors, and architects to these kinds of engraving. Tonal richness is attained in engraving by the use of aquatint (the acid treatment of the plate through the pores of a resinous powder that adheres to it), stippling (combinations of dots punched in the plate or scratched through the varnish with needles or roulettes before the plate is immersed in an acid bath), the wash method (applying acid to the plate with a brush), and mezzotint (the burnishing of the light parts of the drawing on the plate, which has been roughened with the aid of a lapidary tool).
Many kinds of intaglio engraving, used singly or in combination with other techniques, have often served to reproduce works of art. Pencil drawing is closely imitated by the crayon manner (a variant of the stipple method) and by soft varnish (drawing with a pencil on paper that is placed on a plate covered with a greasy varnish; the varnish sticks to the paper wherever there is drawing and comes off with it, exposing the surface of the plate to the action of the acid). Today the traditional materials are often replaced by newer ones: for example, wood with plastics, and metal with organic glass.
Both relief and intaglio engraving can be colored. Colors can be applied by dabbers to different parts of one plate or to specific areas of different plates that have been processed (a color for each plate). The process is completed by printing all the plates on the same sheet of paper. Any stage of the engraver’s work on the plate that has undergone printing is called a state. Some artists have been known to have as many as 20 states for one engraving. Since the 15th century, engravers have often attached their names or monograms to their works. Later, a system of Latin designations (often abbreviated) developed: invenit, the person who conceived or created the composition; fecit, the executer; pinxit, the painter of the picture reproduced in the engraving; sculpsit, the engraver; delineavit, the artist who drew the design; and excudit, the publisher.
Engraving developed from crafts that used engraving techniques: woodcut and wood engraving from cutting on blocks used for printing cloth, engraving from cutting in jewelry making, and etching from weapon embellishment. Paper appeared as the printing material at the beginning of the Christian era in China (where engraving was mentioned in the sixth and seventh centuries, and the first dated engraving goes back to 868) and in the Middle Ages in Europe. Public interest in engraving, with its potential for multiple reproduction, began in Europe at the beginning of the Renaissance with the development of the personality and the expanded need for the dissemination and individual perception of ideas. At the same time, a tendency toward a generalized and symbolic artistic language manifested itself in engraving. The first European woodcuts and wood engravings on religious subjects, often colored by hand, began to appear at the turn of the 15th century in Alsace, Bavaria, Bohemia, and Austria (St. Christopher, dated 1423); later this technique was used to execute satirical and allegorical pictures, alphabets, and calendars. About 1430 block (woodcut) books appeared. The illustrations and text for these books were engraved on the same block. About 1461, the first book made from printing type appeared, illustrated with woodcuts and wood engravings. Such books were printed in Cologne, Mainz, Bamberg,Ulm, Nuremberg, and Basel. In France breviaries were often illustrated with relief engravings on metal. Fifteenth-century German and French engravings were distinguished by their decorativeness, black-and-white contrasts, stressed contours, and Gothic delicacy of the hatching. Toward the end of the 15th century, two trends in book engraving developed in Italy: in Florence the interest in ornamentation became dominant, and in Venice and Verona the emphasis was on linear purity, three-dimensional space, and the sculptural qualities of the figures.
Intaglio engraving began in the 1440’s in southern Germany or Switzerland (The Master of Playing Cards). In the 15th century M. Schongauer and some anonymous German craftsmen adopted the technique of fine parallel hatching and delicate light-and-shade modeling. In Italy, A. Pollaiuolo and A. Mantegna used parallel and cross-hatching, seeking to achieve volume, sculptural forms, and a herioc greatness of images. A. Dürer achieved the ideal of the Renaissance masters by combining the virtuosity of fine shading characteristic of German engraving with the plastic animation of images typical of the Italians and full of profound philosophical meaning. Dramatic lyrical qualities and heroic and genre motifs appeared in woodcuts and wood engravings based on Dürer’s drawings. Engraving became a weapon of an acute social struggle in Germany (through leaflets) and the Netherlands (for example, engravings from the circle of P. Brueghel, the Elder).
At the beginning of the 16th century intaglio engraving came to Italy, where it was used to reproduce paintings (M. Raimondi); as a reaction against its depersonalized smooth hatching, which clearly brought out the form, two other methods came forward: etching, with its freedom of shading, emotional and pictorial qualities, and contrasts of light and dark (A. Dürer and A. Altdorfer in Germany, U. Graf in Switzerland, and Parmigianino in Italy), and chiaroscuro—color woodcuts with a generalized modeling of form and different tones of the same color (U. da Carpi, D. Beccafumi, and A. da Trento in Italy, and L. Cranach, H. Burgkmair, and H. Baldung in Germany). The engravings of the Dutch artist Lucas van Leyden and the Frenchman J. Duvet were distinguished by their free and sometimes dramatic conceptual qualities. In the 16th century, woodcuts as book illustrations came into existence in Bohemia, Russia, Byelorussia, Lithuania, and the Ukraine in connection with the publishing activities of Francisek Skorina, Ivan Fedorov, Petr Mstislavetz, and others.
In the 17th century reproduction by means of engraving was dominant—in Flanders, P. Soutman, L. Vorstermans, and P. Pontius reproduced the paintings of P. P. Rubens; and in France there were C. Mellan, R. Nanteuil, and other masters of portrait engraving, whose best works were distinguished by a fine understanding of character and purity of lineal style. The same was true of etchings, which reflected widely the diversity of individual searches—the sharply grotesque perception of the multifariousness and contradictions of contemporary life in the work of the master of Lorraine, J. Callot; the interaction of light and air in the classical landscapes of the Frenchman Claude Lorrain and the pastoral scenes of the Italian G. B. Castiglione; and the spontaneous psychological insights in Flemish artist A. van Dyck’s portraits. The purest school of etching was the Dutch (it considered etching no less important than painting), which was characterized by an intimate sense of life and nature, a small format designed for closeup viewing, fine distinctions of light and shade, pictorialism of composition, and a clear division of genres (for example, P. Potter’s animal etchings, A. van Ostade’s genre etchings, and A. van Everdingen’s landscapes). A special place is occupied by H. Seghers’ landscapes, which express a dramatic sense of the world’s enormous dimensions, by the works of J. van Ruisdael, who conveys the heroic spirit of wild nature, and especially by Rembrandt’s etchings, in which the free dynamics of the lines and the movement of light and shading express the artist’s psychological insight into character, heights of spiritual and creative energy, and conflicts of ethical principles. In the 17th century engraving on metal spread to Russia (S. Ushakov, A. Trukhmenskii, and L. Bunin), the Ukraine (A. and L. Tarasevich and I. Shchirskii), and Byelorussia (M. Voshchanka); realistic motifs were sometimes used. At the end of the 17th century cheap popular prints began to appear in Russia.
In the 18th century engraving abounded in reproductive techniques. Intaglio engraving was masterfully executed to reproduce paintings and drawings (P. Drevet in France and G. Volpato and R. Morghen in Italy), often matched by etching (N. Cochin and F. F. Boucher in France and G. F. Schmidt in Germany). There was a flourishing of tonal mezzotint engraving, invented in the 17th century (portrait engravings by the English masters J. R. Smith and V. Green and scenes by R. Earlom), as well as new tonal techniques such as stippling (F. Bartolozzi in England), aquatint (J. B. Le Prince in France), wash (J. C. François in France), and the crayon manner (G. Demarteau and L. M. Bonnet in France). Some brilliant masters of color aquatint were the Frenchmen F. Janinet, C. Decourt, and especially P. L. De-bucourt. This original kind of etching was distinguished by softness, fluidity of lines, and the subtle play of light (A. Wat-teau, H. Fragonard, and G. de Saint-Aubin in France and G. B. Tiepolo and A. Canaletto in Italy). Etchings and intaglio engravings filled the satirical pages of W. Hogarth’s books in England, D. N. Chodowiecki’s genre miniatures, including book illustrations, in Germany, and the grandiose architectural fantasies of G. B. Piranesi in Italy. Engravings were used in books and albums, as a means of interior decoration, and as a form of artistic journalism (for example, the etchings of English caricaturists J. Gillray and T. Rowland-son and the cheap popular prints of the period of the French Revolution). In Russia in the first half of the 18th century intaglio engravings depicted patriotic allegories, battle scenes, portraits, and city scenes (A. F. Zubov, I. A. Soko-lov, and M. I. Makhaev). In the second half of the 18th and the early 19th century, the following artists came to the fore: in portrait engraving E. P. Chemesov and N. I. Utkin; landscape and book illustration S. F. Galaktionov, A. G. Ukhtomskii, and K. V. and I. V. Cheskii; intaglio engraving and stippling G. I. Skorodumov; mezzotint I. A. Selivanov; and wash N. A. L’vov and A. N. Olenin. Etching was done by the architects V. I. Bazhenov, M. F. Kazakov, and Thomas de Thomon, the sculptors and painters M. I. Koz-lovskii and O. A. Kiprenskii, and the first Russian caricaturists A. G. Venetsianov, 1.1. Terebenev, and I. A. Ivanov.
In the 18th century there was a flourishing of Japanese wood engraving that had its initial impulse from China, where illustrations, albums, cheap popular prints, and from the 16th century color woodcuts were widespread. In the 17th century, illustrated books appeared in Japan (he monogatari, 1608), as well as engraved calendars, guidebooks, posters, and greeting cards (suri-mono); in 1660 prints with a secular content began to appear, connected with the democratic school of art called ukiyo-e. Japanese engravings, executed consecutively by the draftsman (the creator of the design), the engraver, and the printer, are rich in poetic associations, symbols, and metaphors. Hishikawa Moronobu executed the first black-and-white prints depicting beautiful women and street scenes; he used vivid silhouettes, decorative lines, and spots in his designs. In the 18th century Okumura Masanobu introduced two- and three-color prints, and Suzuki Harunobu embodied the finest shades of feeling in his multicolored engravings of young women and children, with the aid of refined halftones and rhythmic variations. The greatest masters of the late 18th century were Kitagawa Utamaro and Toshusai Sharaku. Kitagawa Utamaro created the idealized, lyrical feminine portrait drawn on a plane with unexpected foreshortening, strong sequences, a subtle play of the finest fluid lines, and soft nuances of color and black spots. Toshusai Sharaku’s grotesquely harsh, expressive, and dramatic portraits of actors are distinguished by sharp contrasts of color and rhythm and by the embodiments of symbolic characters. In the first half of the 19th century the masters of landscape engraving played a leading role. They were Katsushika Hokusai, who expressed with unrestrained imagination the complexity, variability, and inexhaustibility of nature and the unity of the world in big things and small, and Ando Hiroshige, who sought to accurately represent the beauty of his country.
On the eve of the 19th century, F. Goya in Spain opened new vistas for engraving in his series of aquatints, uniting political satire and almost perfect precision with subjective expression, tragic grotesqueness, and an unbridled imagination. The combination of lifelike credibility and fantasticality is inherent in the relief engraving on copper of W. Blake (England). In the 19th century, wood engraving designed for reproduction (invented in the 1780’s by the Englishman T. Bewick) and executed by engraving specialists was popular for line illustrations. (In Russia it was done by E. E. Ber-nardskii, L. A. Seriakov, and V. V. Mathé.) Later it was used for tonal illustrations (polytypes) in books and magazines. Reproductions of intaglio engravings were less important (in Russia, F. I. Iordan and I. P. Pozhalostin), as were etchings (in France, F. Bracquemond). The revival of the original etching process was brought about less by the specialists, such as C. Meryon in France and S. Haden in England, than by the many painters who wanted to disseminate their ideas more widely and often sought a way to capture the living variability of nature and the play of air and light (J. F. Millet, C. Corot, and C. Daubigny in France; T. G. Shevchenko and L. M. Zhemchuzhnikov in the Ukraine; and I. I. Shishkin, I. E. Repin, and V. A. Serov in Russia). The etching medium attracted them because it lent itself to impressionistic plein air effects and provided a means for transmitting instantaneous impressions (the Dutch artist J. B. Jongkind, the Frenchmen E. Manet and E. Degas, the American artists J. M. Whistler and J. Pennell, the Germans M. Liebermann, L. Corinth, and M. Slevogt, and the Swede A. Zorn). At the turn of the 20th century, social and philosophic content was injected into etching by both the symbolists (J. Ensor and J. de Bruycker in Belgium and M. Klinger in Germany) and the exponents of democratic realism (K. Kollwitz’ series, imbued with the spirit of revolutionary protest, and the etchings of the Englishman F. Brangwyn on urban working life). In the 1890’s the original (easel) wood engraving and woodcut was revived for display (A. Lepère in France) and book illustrations (W. Morris in Great Britain). New techniques were manifested in P. Gauguin’s engravings (France), which were done in a generalized manner with strong contrasts of black and white; later a kind of simplified decorative woodcut and linocut (including color) developed, based on a rhythmic pattern of silhouettes that included color (F. Vallotton in Switzerland, W. Nicholson and G. Craig in Great Britain, and A. P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva in Russia). Characteristic of many 20th-century artists are tense expressiveness and contrasting spots suggestive of objects or figures that evoke a sense of tragedy, in woodcuts with an uneven background texture (E. Munch in Norway and E. Nolde and E. L. Kirchner in Germany). The traditions of the old popular engravings have also been widely used (J. G. Posada in Mexico and W. Sko-czylas and T. Kulisiewicz in Poland). Woodcuts and linocuts in the 20th century have acquired a wealth of expressive possibilities for depicting the life of the people, expressing journalistic fervor in the propaganda of liberating ideas, and protesting against imperialist oppression and wars (K. Kollwitz, the Belgian F. Masereel, the Mexican engravers L. Méndez, A. Beltrán, and A. García Bustos, the Chinese Li Hua and Ku Yüan, the Japanese Ueno Makota and Tadashige Ono, the Brazilians R. Katz and C. Scliar, and the Chilean Hermosiglia Alvarez). The expressiveness of lines, silhouettes, and colors was revealed in new ways in the book illustrations and prints of P. Picasso, H. Matisse R. Dufy, and G. Rouault. The great modern masters of the realistic style in engraving are R. Kent (USA), A. Grant (Great Britain), L. Norrman (Sweden), and H. Finne (Norway). The techniques have been significantly improved (especially metal engraving), and new materials and technical methods of engraving are being introduced, although they are often used to achieve self-contained formal effects. Engraving in bourgeois countries is largely dominated by modern individualistic influences.
Engraving in the USSR has reflected the life and history of the people in many different ways and genres: in prints and illustrations, in revolutionary journalism and lyrical landscapes, and in portraits and thematic compositions. It is distinguished by an abundance of national schools and creative tendencies unified by the common principles of communist ideology and socialist realism. In addition to the 19th-century tonal tradition (I. N. Pavlov and I. A. Sokolov) and the decorative-depictive woodcut and wood engraving of the early 20th century (A. P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, P. A. Shil-lingovskii, and V. D. Falileev) wood and linocuts have become invested with new characteristics of romantic tension, contrasts, and freedom of imagination (N. N. Kupreianov, A. I. Kravchenko), as well as psychological insights and a synthetic wholeness of style (V. A. Favorskii). These tendencies were developed in prints and especially in book woodcuts by P. Ia. Pavlinov, N. I. Piskarev, P. N. Staronosov, A. D. Goncharov, M. I. Pikov, F. D. Konstan-tinov, G. A. Echeistov, S. B. Iudovin, and G. D. Epifanov. Important contributions to the development of Soviet etching were made by I. I. Nivinskii and G. S. Vereiskii. Engraving with a burin was revived by D. I. Mitrokhin. Prominent schools of engraving have developed in the Ukraine (V. I. Kasiian, M. G. Deregus, and E. L. Kul’chitskaia), Lithuania (using the national traditions of wood and lino engraving, I. M. Kuzminskis, V. M. Iurkunas, and A. A. Kuchas), Estonia (engraving on metal, E. K. Okasa, A. G. Bakh-Liimand), and Latvia (woodcuts by P. A. Upitis and etchings by A. P. Apinis). Today the major work in Soviet engraving is being done in prints distinguished by very general themes, vivid decorativeness, and a profusion of textures and techniques. Woodcuts and linocuts are being done by G. F. Zakharov and I. V. Golitsyn (RSFSR); G. V. Iakutovich (the Ukraine); G. G. Poplavskii (Byelorussia); A. A. Rzakuliev (Azerbaijan); M. M. Abegian (Armenia); D. M. Nodia and R. G. Tarkhan-Mouravi (Georgia); L. A. Il’ina (Kirghizia); A. I. Makunaite, A. P. Skirutite, and V. P. Valius (Lithuania); and G. E. Krollis and D. A. Rozhkalna (Latvia). Engraving on metal is being done by V. V. Tolli, A. F. Kiutta, and A. Iu. Keerend (Estonia). In the art of socialist countries an important place is occupied by the etchings of R. Bergander and the woodcuts of W. Klemke (German Democratic Republic), the etchings of G. Hincz and A. Würtz (Hungary), the etchings and woodcuts of M. Ŝva-binsky (Czechoslovakia), the woodcuts of V. Zakhariev and V. Staikov (Bulgaria), and the woodcuts of D. Andrejeviř-Kun (Yugoslavia) and B. Gy Szábo (Rumania).
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