Before the printing press was born, printmaking was not considered an art form. This was seen as a way of communicating. It was only in the 18th century, when the art of engraving began to be considered as originals, and then in the 19th century, artists began to produce limited editions of their works and signing these prints that the work could be checked.
Engraving is as old as cave paintings, when it was used not only on stones and bones, as well as on the walls of caves. About 3,000 years ago the Sumerians were engraving patterns on stone seals. However, historians believe that it was the Chinese that were responsible for the first printing form in the 2nd century ad, which they did with friction. However, the first reliable prints were made in the middle of the 8th century the Japanese, which consisted of wood block prints done in the delights of the Buddha.
The Europeans were printing textile in the sixth century, but paper printing started later, when the technology of making paper arrived from the Far East. The first paper was made in 1151 in Xativa, Spain. In the 15th century the first engravings printed on paper were in the form of playing cards. Just before this, Henry VI made the first Royal seals and stamps.
A few decades after the woodcut, metal engraving started. It was art, which are only used by jewelers and gunsmiths. The earliest printed engraving is from 1446 which is the German press. Germany gets the credit for the development of gravure printing, from which he made his way to Italy and the Benelux countries.
In the 17th century, print is seen as decorative ornaments across Europe. This type of printing is mainly used for decoration of portraits and paintings. Gravure printing at this time was made using the acid as the artists at the time considered a work of art. Although the etching was first made in Italy, the majority of the artists were foreigners, as the etching Jacques Callot and Claude Lorrain from France and josé de La Ribera in Spain. In the Netherlands, the etching was done by master artist Rmbrandt, which produced nearly 300 etched plates.
In the 18th century, all the engraving was centered in Italy with the rise of Tiepolo. It is believed that Francisco Goya was strongly influenced by Tiepolo. Then came Canaletto, which is considered the most important architectural printmaker, making about 3000 architectural etchings.
In 19century, prints reached France and Printers as Ingres, Delacroix, Theodore Rousseau and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was in great demand. As well as the Impressionists Manet and Degas are considered to be important Printmakers during this period.
In the first half of the 20th century, Printmakers led by Pablo Picasso and then Malaga. In fact, Picasso gets credit for France, a hotbed for engraving. After that came marriage, Matisse, Rouault, Chagall, Joan Miro, Max Ernt, Jan ARP, Salvador Dali and many others. Germany has seen the likes of Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernt Barlach, E. Heckel and Oskar Kokoschka. It was the expressionists.
In England, Henry Moore was engaged in the creation of sculptures and lithographs. While in the US, Printmakers like George Wesley bellows produced lithographs, John Sloan and Reginald Marsh etchings, drypoint and Milton Avery. However, the most important Printmakers in America was Edward Hopper and Ben shahn.