the print collectors handbook

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III LINE ENGRAVING Line engraving may be divided into two main classes—original and interpretative ; the one in which the product is the spontaneous conception of the engraver's own mind, and the other in which the results are translations, in black and white, of the compositions of painters and sculptors. To the first class belongs almost all the output of the early practitioners of line engraving ; but from the days of the famous Marcantonio Raimondi, the art gradually ceased to be one of original effort, and became more and more the means of rendering in print the work of painters. The way in which the line engraver proceeds is as follows :—Upon the sheet of copper he first traces the outline of the subject he proposes to engrave, and then, taking a triangular - pointed tool (called a graver) with the handle placed in the palm of his hand, he pushes the instrument, guided by his thumb and forefinger, along and into the metal, and so ploughs furrows of greater or less width and depth, according as he wishes the lines of his subject to appear coarse or fine in the printed impression. By this method of working it will be understood that the lines must lack much of the freedom of those made with the etching needle, and that they must resolve themselves more into systems of strokes parallel to or THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS (From the Line Engraving by Andrea Mantegna, late fifteenth century") crossing each other. The result has been that, ¡n course of time, traditions and rules of procedure have been accepted by interpretative engravers, and the different textures—flesh, foliage, foreground, etc.—have been rendered, more or less, according to mechanical formulae. It was this working upon set rules that caused Sir Seymour Haden to define line engraving as a manufac...
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