The Early Modern World, C. 1300–1600

Sixteenth-Century European Art and Architecture

When did printmaking begin?

By the sixteenth century, printing technology, such as the woodcut, had been around for hundreds of years, first developing in China in the fifth century. Printmaking was first used to apply patterns to textiles, and then later was used on paper. Intaglio processes, such as engraving and etching, developed in Germany in the middle of the fifteenth century, evolved from techniques used by goldsmiths and jewelers. Printmaking allowed artists to make multiple copies of a text or an image, and mass production of prints began in the sixteenth century, forever changing the consumption of art images and texts.


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