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Lithography

Lithography

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Scientific Process. The technology involved in lithography was developed by a Bavarian named Alois Senefelder in 1795. It spread to France in 1816 and by 1822 was being used in London. In the United States, Bass Otis, a student of the great portrait painter Gilbert Stuart, began to experiment with the new techniques sometime around 1819. Lithography was a delicate technique that required a particular kind of stone, imported from Bavaria, on which the artist drew using special crayons. When the design was finished, the stone would be bathed in gum and acids which would harden the crayon

design and cause it to stand out in relief, turning the stone into a plate that, when wet and inked, could be pressed onto paper to make a print.

Publishing. Before lithography was introduced, pictures in books and magazines were reproduced from copperplate engravings or from woodcuts, which were slow and difficult processes. Lithography made book and magazine illustration easier and less expensive. More and more, authors were able to add illustrations to their books, a step that subtly altered how literature was received. Magazine editors were able to vary the visual appeal of their products so that Godeys Ladys Book, for example, could draw on lithographic technology to print fashion plates and other illustrated material for its readers. Sheet-music publishers also capitalized on the new technology, packaging songs with illustrations that suggested their contents.

Currier and Ives. Nathaniel Currier got his start in 1828 as apprentice to William and John Pendleton of Boston, the first American company to make lithography a commercial success. Eventually Currier settled in New York and established his own business at 1 Wall Street in 1835. Curriers company, later known as Currier and Ives after James M. Ives, a skilled business manager and self-educated artist, joined the firm in 1852, billed itself as offering Colored Engravings for the People. Over the years Currier and Ives offered a wide range of prints; today the collection of known Currier and Ives prints totals over seven thousand illustrations. Prints included views of city and country locations; political cartoons and banners; portraits of American and European celebrities and political figures; illustrations of historical events; blank certificates for birth, marriage, church membership, or death; country and pioneer home scenes; sheet music; nature scenes; and pictures of trains, horses (a Currier and Ives specialty), and sporting events. To produce this enormous range of illustrations, produced at a rate of three per week, Currier and Ives relied on various artists. The company regularly bought drawings as they were offered, hired artists as full-time staff members, and, on occasion, hired independent lithographers.

Art for the Masses. Lithographic prints produced by Currier and Ives and other lithographers were an important way of disseminating art to the American public. The many Americans unable to afford original art could own reproductions produced and distributed by lithographers, a development that some criticized as a devaluation of art itself. The drawing involved in lithography also provided jobs for would-be artists to supplement the portrait painting or teaching that artists typically did in order to support their more-idealistic endeavors. Ironically, while the mass production of art threatened to outdo or overshadow the ideal of individual artistic production, at the same time it provided artists with the means they needed to earn a living while they worked on more-ambitious individual projects.

Sources

Harry T. Peters, Currier & Ives: Printmakers to the People (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1942);

John W. Reps, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America: Lithographs of Towns and Cities in the United States and Canada, Notes on the Artists and Publishers, and a Union Catalog of Their Work, 18251925 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1984).

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lithography

lithography (lĬthŏg´rəfē), type of planographic or surface printing. It is distinguished from letterpress (relief) printing and from intaglio printing (in which the design is cut or etched into the plate). Lithography is used both as an art process and as a commercial printing process. In commercial printing the term is used synonymously with offset printing.

The Process

All planographic printing is based on chemical action, and lithography is based on the mutual antipathy of oil and water. As the name [Gr.,=writing on stone] implies, a lithograph is printed from a stone (except in commercial processes, where grained metal or plastic plates are employed). The process was invented c.1796 by the playwright Aloys Senefelder, and the Bavarian limestone that he employed is still considered the best material for art lithography.

The slab of stone is ground to a level surface, which may be of coarse or fine texture as desired. The drawing is made in reverse directly on the stone with a lithographic crayon or ink that contains soap or grease. The fatty acid of this material interacts with the lime of the stone to form an insoluble lime soap on the surface, which will accept the greasy printing ink and reject water. Accordingly, those parts of the stone that have been drawn upon have an affinity for ink.

Sometimes the drawing is made on paper and transferred to a heated stone by pressure. This is known as a transfer lithograph and does not require the artist to reverse his or her drawing. Next, the surface of the stone untouched by grease is desensitized to it, and the portions drawn upon are fixed against spreading by treatment with a gum arabic and nitric acid solution. The grease has now penetrated the stone, and the drawing is washed off with turpentine and water. The stone is ready to be inked with a roller and printed, but it must be kept moist. The printing requires a special lithographic press with a sliding bed passing under a scraper.

Applications

As a printing process lithography is probably the most unrestricted. It produces tones ranging from intense black to the most delicate gray as well as a full range of colors. It also simulates with equal facility the effects of pencil, pen, crayon, or brush drawing. White lines are readily produced by scratching through the drawing on the stone. Several hundred fine proofs can be taken from a stone. The medium was exploited by many artists in the 19th cent., including Goya, Delacroix, Daumier, Gavarni, Manet, Degas, Bonnard, Whistler, and Toulouse-Lautrec, whose posters are among the most celebrated lithographic masterworks. In the United States, A. B. Davies, George Bellows, Joseph Pennell, and Currier and Ives are among the many artists noted for their lithographs.

For the commercial reproduction of art works, photolithography has played an increasingly important role. In this process a photographic negative is exposed to light over a gelatin-covered paper. Wherever the light does not strike the gelatin, the latter remains soluble while the other parts are rendered insoluble. When the soluble portions are washed away, the pattern to be printed can be inked and transferred to the stone or plate. Color lithography and color photolithography require as many stones or plates as the number of colors employed. The commercial printing applications of the lithographic process are vast in scope and almost unlimited in number.

Bibliography

See J. Pennell and E. Pennell, Lithographs and Lithographers (1915); V. Strauss, Lithographers Manual (2 vol. 1958); W. Weber, A History of Lithography (1966); F. H. Man, Artists' Lithographs: A World History (1970).

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lithology

li·thol·o·gy / liˈ[unvoicedth]äləjē/ • n. the study of the general physical characteristics of rocks. Compare with petrology. ∎  the general physical characteristics of a rock or the rocks in a particular area: the lithology of South Dakota. DERIVATIVES: lith·o·log·ic / ˌli[unvoicedth]əˈläjik/ adj. lith·o·log·i·cal / ˌli[unvoicedth]əˈläjikəl/ adj. lith·o·log·i·cal·ly / ˌli[unvoicedth]əˈläjik(ə)lē/ adv.

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"lithology." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"lithology." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lithology

lithography

lithography In art, method of printing from a flat, inked surface. In traditional lithography, invented in the 1790s, the design is made on a prepared plate or stone with a greasy pencil, crayon, or liquid. Water applied to the surface is absorbed where there is no design. Oil-based printing ink, rolled over the surface, sticks to the design, but not to the moist areas. Pressing paper onto the surface produces a print.

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"lithography." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"lithography." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lithography

lithography

li·thog·ra·phy / liˈ[unvoicedth]ägrəfē/ • n. the process of printing from a flat surface treated so as to repel the ink except where it is required for printing. ∎ Electr. an analogous method for making printed circuits. DERIVATIVES: li·thog·ra·pher / -fər/ n.

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lithology

lithology The description of the macroscopic features of a rock, e.g. its texture or petrology.

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lithography

lithographydaffy, taffy •Amalfi •Cavafy, Gaddafi •Effie •beefy, Fifi, leafy •cliffy, iffy, jiffy, Liffey, niffy, sniffy, spiffy, squiffy, stiffy, whiffy •salsify •coffee, toffee •wharfie •Sophie, strophe, trophy •Dufy, goofy, Sufi •fluffy, huffy, puffy, roughie, roughy, scruffy, snuffy, stuffy, toughie •comfy • atrophy •anastrophe, catastrophe •calligraphy, epigraphy, tachygraphy •dystrophy, epistrophe •autobiography, bibliography, biography, cardiography, cartography, chirography, choreography, chromatography, cinematography, cosmography, cryptography, demography, discography, filmography, geography, hagiography, historiography, hydrography, iconography, lexicography, lithography, oceanography, orthography, palaeography (US paleography), photography, pornography, radiography, reprography, stenography, topography, typography •apostrophe •gymnosophy, philosophy, theosophy •furphy, murphy, scurfy, surfy, turfy

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