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Old Masters Prints
Old Master prints are artworks produced during the 15th through 18th centuries by printmakers that are accepted by art historians as masters of the medium. Typically, the category refers to Western European printmakers, as the main areas in which printmaking thrived were Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Printmaking eventually spread to England, France, and elsewhere, but masters of the technique were from the nations that initially fostered the medium. Master printmakers worked using the modalities of woodcut, engraving and a limited number of etchings to create playing cards, book illustrations and eventually highly detailed religious and genre scenes.
Albrecht Dürer refined the woodcut technique, creating incredibly detailed landscapes that brought the medium to its zenith. None of his contemporaries could match his skill, and he was famous throughout Europe. Printmakers created workshops specifically intended to reproduce the great paintings of Andrea Mantegna, Titian, Raphael and others purely to increase the artists' commercial success and reach a wider audience for their work.
In the 17th century, Sir Peter Paul Rubens employed a large workshop of engravers. He oversaw the training of the printmakers and the production of engravings of his work, making sure the resulting prints met his own exacting standards
Rembrandt van Rijn purchased his own printing press for his studio, and created approximately 300 prints during his career, focusing on landscapes, religious scenes, and portraits. He was highly experimental and ambitiously left ink on the plate to create various effects on the resulting prints
Francisco Goya explored social and political commentary through the medium of printmaking. His etchings and aquatints center on corruption and immorality, and his Los Caprichos series is still influential to artists today