Housed in the British Museum is a 1300-year-old Chinese manuscript with the image of Buddha drawn in flowing black lines. This, according to A History of Wood Engraving, is the oldest known woodcut and the starting point for this lively history of the art form. For hundreds of years, wood engraving was the primary means of illustrating books in France, Italy, and the Netherlands. In the sixteenth century, the German master Durer brought engraving to new artistic heights. Since then, scores of true originals have put their own stamp on this unique wonderfully expressive form. A standard in the field, A History of Wood Engraving offers any art lover a trove of captivating information—from engraving techniques, to artist biographies, to personal commentary—all expertly explained by Douglas Percy Bliss, a renowned painter and engraver in his own right. The author moves the story all the way to modern times, with a final chapter on recent masters and the future of engraving.
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