Graphic arts - Lithos



Aloys Senefelder ( 1771 – 1834 ) was the inventor of the litho or the art of lithography. He used to draw the image – which was to be reproduced by printing – with gouache chalk on a polished slab of limestone. Then he went on to ‘etch’ it with a watery solution of gum arabic. Next he used to moisten the stone slab with a sponge and water. Printing ink was added. The ink only adhered to the image, drawn with greasy gouache chalk and thus could be printed on paper.
The lithograph introduced a technique that enhanced the printing of quicker, better and cheaper images. Thanks to the art of lithography advertisement posters and wrapping paper products could be realized. It also facilitated the printing of school books and atlases, since it provided a simpler and cheaper technical method. Without the invention of the art of lithography, even today’s most important printing process, the offset printing, would not have been existent.


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