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Arts & Music » Visual arts » Drawing & Prints

Colorful Impressions: Printmaking Revolution in 18th Century France

presents 15 pieces from the period of innovation unleashed by German artist Jakob Christoffel Le Blon's breakthrough in the use of color in the 1720s. The resulting "printed paintings" and "engraved drawings," as they were called, allowed the middle classes to hang on their walls replicas of art works found in the mansions of aristocrats and royalty. (National Gallery of Art)

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Interesting Fact:

Accustomed as we are today to seeing color in images in every conceivable medium, color prints hardly seem revolutionary. Color was in fact a regular ingredient in prints from their invention in the early 1400s, but at that time color was always applied by hand. The invention of ways to create realistic-looking printed color took another three hundred years.
Jean-Fran├žois Janinet after Nicolas Lavreince (French, 1752 - 1814) 'A Woman Playing the Guitar,' 1788/1789, wash manner, printed in blue, red, yellow, and black inks, National Gallery of Art, Widen

A Woman Playing the Guitar


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