Art print

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The art print is a special area of printing , primarily for the reproduction of paintings . In paintings, many colors are usually mixed that fill a very complex color space . Normal color printing cannot reproduce these colors in their original shade. In particular, purple and the gold and silver colors cause major problems.


The art print is designed to find a mixture of printing inks that can reproduce the original impression of the painting. The color separation here leads to a high number, so instead of the usual well- CMYK - Four color printing or Hexachrome - pressure significantly more printing inks are used. On art prints, the number of printing inks is often noted in the envelope as a quality feature, 8 to 12 are not unusual. In general, the more colors, the closer the color impression is to the original.

The high numbers arise in particular when it is necessary to use metallic spot colors , such as gold and silver, which are generally not suitable for mixing with other spot colors or primary colors . Icons and other religious paintings in particular contain these colors.

Contrary to popular belief earn Prints only the name when gridless or frequency modulated screen printed. Strictly speaking, prints with an autotypical grid are not art prints.

The techniques of art print with special spot colors are also used for practical representations. The aim here is to make it more difficult to copy representations, for example in the case of certificates and other papers with a security character. The market for art prints is small, and the acquisition of appropriate printing machines is expensive. This increases the hurdles for the unauthorized reproduction of corresponding documents.

In the recent past the art print has come into competition with painting workshops and modern artist cooperatives who have specialized in the reproduction of oil paintings . New specialization processes and inexpensive production methods make reproductions of old masterpieces an alternative to printing for many art enthusiasts, which, similar to the original painting, is characterized by individual execution and long-term color fastness.

The Decoblock was developed to present art prints and hang them up frameless .


Chromolithography , patented by Godefroy Engelmann in 1837 , became important in the history of industrial art printing . It was the common method for high-quality color illustrations until the 1930s. The process was replaced by collotype printing , which in the 21st century is only practiced in three printing workshops worldwide due to cost reasons. Art prints using digital printing or offset printing are common , but their brilliance seldom comes close to a chromolithography or collotype. Reproductions from the 3D printer are still in the early stages , but at the same time they have already been described as the “next logical step”.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Peter Prantner: The Rembrandt from the 3-D printer. Next step towards the original. In: January 24, 2014, accessed January 24, 2014 .