“The history of prints is usually in black and white, but early prints were vibrant,” said Dr. Savage, who curated an exhibition for the museum on the subject in 2015. “Late medieval and early modern German printers pushed the technology of the printing press to its limits in their quest to print color. They, not the artists, controlled the artistic effect.”
It is a book spanning the divide between book history, bibliography, and art history
“Color reproductions weren’t available until relatively recently, so centuries of print scholarship was based on written descriptions or black-and-white reproductions of prints,” said Dr. Savage. “Color was ‘written out’ by manipulating negatives and enhancing contrast to show the black outlines. I’m delighted that the publisher Paul Holberton insisted that the reproductions in this book be on thick, matte paper which better represents the original prints and their range of very dark tones. This makes it possible for all readers to see aspects of these artifacts, including evidence of the printing process that created them, in a way that standard illustrations do not.”
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