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Video transcript

we've talked about duress a great painter from northern Germany but der was also a great print maker this is an excellent example to talk about Durer's printmaking in part because it's a woodcut there are several different types of printmaking that are popular in the late 1400s and early 1500s and the wood cuts was the first and most popular type of printing at the time there's a couple of reasons for that but maybe one of the most important ones is the way that a woodcut is made when we're looking at a woodcut like this what we have to keep in mind is that all of the lines that have been printed on the page were raised up off the surface of the printing block and so we need to imagine that on the piece of wood that this was printed from when we look at this cloud there was a thin piece of wood standing up from the surface and the carver sometimes dirham self had carved away everything that's white and blank it's like a stamp it's very labor-intensive but it's worth it in the end because you can make a lot of them and you can make money that way as dura did you can spread your point of view that way because they can be distributed they're very portable and so a lot of effort goes into it at first but then once you're making the prints there's a lot of them they're inexpensive they can be carried around easily and so they help spread your name or your ideas very quickly I was going to say that they were popular because they could be combined with the printed word which is printed more and more often at this time because like letters in a typewriter the images are raised up off the surface like the letters and so they could all be combined in the same printing press and used together he was interested in other kinds of media too because although he could achieve as we can see a great deal of light and shadow and some detail in these wood cuts there are ultimately limitations to the woodcut process even though Durer was a great master as we can see and the primary problem is as we've said that you're cutting away what you don't want to print it's not a very direct way of making a representation you're not drawing with a pen no painting with a paintbrush you're making the marks that you don't want to appear on the paper if that makes any sense and that creates difficulties also it's very hard in woodcut to get very fine lines or sharp details because if you want a very thin line like the lines and the clouds are to a certain extent you have to imagine these are very thin thins basically a wood that are sticking up and in the printing press they might crush so Durer is interested in other methods of printing that can give him the kinds of details and tonal gradation and so what he's able to do is then instead later in his life take advantage of the engraving printing technique which is very different from the way a woodcut is made the primary difference is that with an engraving the gestures that you make are the lines that will appear on the paper like drawing with an engraving you work with a metal plate and you use a very sharp instrument with a v-shaped tip it's called a Burin and you push that through the metal the lines that you're making with this tool can be extremely thin you can make the the very faintest of lines here we can see how der has been able to achieve the kind of detail and textural nuances and subtleties is shaved and light that he would never ever be able to achieve with the woodcut you're carving the lines then the ink goes all over the plate including in the lines you wipe off the surface of the plate so that the ink is only in the lines and then you put it through a printing press that presses much harder than a woodcut printing press this is one of the disadvantages of engravings there are a couple compared to what cuts one of them is that because of the high pressure of the printing press and the faint very delicate dots and lines of an engraving you can't make as many good prints so you can print fewer engravings than you can a woodcut and surprisingly more expensive that makes them more expensive along with the fact that the raw materials that you're using are also more expensive metal instead of wood and by the way this is st. Jerome and his study this is st. Jerome in the study a later print by Durer from the early 1500s it's amazing how he's able to achieve with an engraving the characteristic features of northern European painting like the effects of light and shadow the sense of texture the sense of detail and also this idea of a solitary man working at probably the translation of the Bible that Jerome is famous for that sense of devotion and solitary pensive thought is also rather than or we should also add their influences of Italian art here it's quite evident that der has used one-point perspective in the early 1500s there were not many northern European artists who had the mastery of perspective as juror ed since he had traveled to Italy twice in the for showing his period absolutely you