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4,047 artworks, 380 artists
Engraving is a special type of art that requires an artist to handle not only a pencil and brush, but also a cutter. The technique of creating engravings is quite complicated: a pattern is cut on a plate of metal, wood, linoleum, cardboard or other dense materials. The resulting base is coated with ink, and then pressed against a sheet of paper.

The art of engraving originated in the 15th century. Artists of that era experimented with the available materials – the first engravers used cheap plates of wood or metal (mainly copper). The development of this type of art was largely influenced by the invention of the printing press: soon engravings came to replace the handwritten miniatures, which used to illustrate books.

At first, engravers used biblical stories as subjects of their works, but over time, prints began to depict events from ancient myths, landscapes, portraits of famous figures, scenes from everyday life. Despite the fact that the set of visual aids was not very diverse (strokes, scratches, cuts, etching according to the sketch), the great engraving artists of the Middle Ages managed to create works of art that still amaze the viewer with their clear lines, a game of shades and meanings with all that image brevity.

Such expressiveness was achieved through the use of allegories, metaphors, hints. The medieval tradition of fine art provided for the use of a specially designed sign language, where objects, plants, and even the body positions were assigned a certain meaning. This technique was used by such great engraving artists as Meister E. S., Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Dürer, Giovanni Piranesi, Brueghel the Elder, Gustave Doré, Jean Duve.

Over time, the art of engraving developed: new directions appeared, the classical engraving technique improved and the new ones were invented. To create prints, artists used such techniques as intaglio or relief printing, etching, print, block printing, lithography, monotype, silkscreen. Today, these techniques are used by modern engraving artists who create original images describing the world around us – people, nature, unique objects and phenomena.

Arthive invites you to take a tour of the virtual engraving hall, where you can get acquainted with the artworks by the outstanding engravers of the past and present.