chiaroscuro woodcut

14 October 2010 § Leave a comment

Ludolph Büsinck - Aeneas rettet seinen Vater Anchises

(also: clair-obscur woodcut, camaïeu (French), clair-obscuurhoutsnede (Dutch))

Between 1508 and 1510 the chiaroscuro technique suddenly appears on different locations. The origin of the chiaroscuro technique is uncertain. One possibility is that the technique originated from illustrators who coloured woodcut printings by hand. By printing in colour they would save a lot of labour and time and in this way an even colouring would be garanteed. Nevertheless chiaroscuro doesn’t provide vivid colour prints, so it is also possible that this technique didn’t have its origin in the desire for bright illustrations, but was at first a way to produce woodcuts with shade effects in grey. Maybe chiaroscuro only intended to accentuate the aesthetic value of the woodcut technique and wasn’t produced to make a contribution to the realistic quality of the printed image itself.

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