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Guide to printmaking: lithography


In lithography, the printing and blank (non-printing) elements of the printing plate are practically on the same level.


Printing form: Lithographic stone

Method: Lithographic stone is prepared by grinding with water and sand, achieving a completely smooth surface. Then a pattern is applied to the printing surface on the stone with a special lithographic pencil and ink. The printing elements of the printing plate are wetted with greasy ink, and the blank spaces - with water. The mold is moistened with water and rolled up with paint. Since grease and water do not mix, the pre-moistened blank areas of the form do not get the ink, which gets only on the printing elements. The paper is then brought into contact with the mold under pressure, which results in an imprint.


  • Accurate transfer of artistic intent - the artist can edit the work at any time
  • Expressive qualities - lithography became a favorite way of creating works of French and English romantic artists, Barbizonians, impressionists and symbolists of the late 19th century
  • Rough, velvety touch

Eugene Delacroix, Honore Daumier, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec worked in the technique of lithography. Admirers of lithography among Russian artists are Alexei Venetsianov, Orest Kiprensky, Karl Bryullov.

Lithography, which is used quite rarely today, is the favorite technique of the artist Ekaterina Lopatina. “Lithography gives the artist great opportunities for self-expression, although it is very laborious, because the whole process is completely handmade. And it's so exciting to take a freshly printed impression from the stone. Almost magic! ”- Ekaterina Lopatina.

Other types of lithography: offset printing, phototype

Author:Алена Монахова


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