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29,109 artworks, 3,869 artists
Graphics (gr. γραφικός — to write, draw, scratch) is a type of fine art, the main artistic techniques of which are strokes, lines and spots. The color scheme is mainly reduced to the contrast of black and white colours and shades of grey, but there are also works that are executed in multicolor technique. The graphics are very laconic, their images are simple and conventional, and the background often determines the relation of the image to the space of the drawing. Graphic works leave the viewer an opportunity to conjecture what he/she saw on the basis of the contours and silhouettes depicted by the artist.
Drawing, engraving, printmaking, watercolours belong to easel graphics. Book graphics deserve a separate classification — drop caps and vignettes, fonts, illustrations and general book design. Posters, letters (including calligraphy), the art of decorating printed products — newspapers and magazines — also exist as the separate categories of this type of fine art. In addition to traditional drawing and printing forms, modern graphics can be computer-based.
The most ancient type of graphics is drawing; it is the progenitor of fine art, the basis that all artists must study. Until the end of the 19th century, it was considered a preparatory stage for painting and it did not stand out as a separate art form.
Graphic drawings have been known since time immemorial and they are found all over the world in the places where our ancestors lived. The uniqueness of the work faded into the background when, in the 6th century in China, engraving was invented. This art of obtaining numerous similar images became popular in Europe only in the 14th century and it was closely associated with the development of the printing techniques and the production of relatively cheap paper. The engravings were created using woodcut and etching techniques; carved boards were used to print maps, posters, caricatures, leaflets. Famous artists, such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and later van Dijk and Claude Lorrain, worked in graphic techniques among others, achieving wide light transmission, dynamic lines.
Engraving is a quite picturesque, inexpensive, and highly artistic work method that is accessible to many, which influenced its further development. In the next two centuries, the dotted techniqu, mezzotinto, aquatint, and lavis appeared, which were characterized by subtle tonal transitions and decorativeness. And by the end of the 18th century, the technique of lithography was invented in Germany, which greatly simplified and reduced the cost of illustrating books and other printed materials.
Another graphic technique, pastel drawing, began to develop actively at the turn of the 15—16th centuries, when the French artist Jean Perreal invented pastel chalk, which consisted of a pigment mixed with acacia resin. Having become an extremely popular technique in 17th century portrait painting, pastel eventually gave way to oil paints. Jean-Étienne Liotard, Gustav Lundberg, Edgar Degas worked in this medium.
Graphic techniques include watercolour, which stand light reflection and background colour at a high place along with contour drawing, as well as drawing. At the same time, watercolour works are characterized by careful work with tonal transitions, a special attitude to space composition. The famous masters of watercolour include Joseph Turner, William Henry Hunt, Thomas Eakins, Eugène Delacroix.