The Printmaker’s Art (3 stars)

The Printmaker’s Art

The oft misunderstood art of printmaking is represented here by masters of the craft, both Scottish and international. Visitors may struggle to find the darkened room down in the basement where the 30 plus collected prints are situated, but it is well worth a few moments of quiet reflection despite the small number of works.

A clear explanation of the processes involved in printmaking sits alongside the artist guides, and the viewer is taken on a journey from the earliest form of print (woodcuts, including examples from as early as the 1500s) to the forerunner of modern print, the lithograph. Frustratingly, sloping glass prevents close examination of the exquisite detail found in Albrecht Durer’s ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’, or Marcantonio Raimondi’s delicate drypoint and etching depictions produced in collaboration with Raphael — but this is a necessary evil of preservation along with the dim lighting.

Whether you prefer the delicate touch of Whistler’s plates, or the darkness of Goya’s imagination, to see both side by side with Scotland’s own contributors, Sir David Young Cameron and Sir David Wilkie, is a rare opportunity. Even Toulouse Lautrec and William Blake are represented. The Printmaker’s Art is an education for those whom printmaking is a mystery and a welcome (though small) display of this under-represented segment of the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection for others.

National Gallery Complex, Edinburgh, until Sun 23 Mar

The Printmaker's Art

  • 3 stars

Highlights from the gallery's outstanding collection of artists' prints, spanning the past 500 years and including iconic images by Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogarth and Whistler. Prints are created by drawing onto a surface such as woodblock, lithographic stone or etching plate and transferring the image onto paper.

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