The technique was invented by Alois Senefelder before 1799. Initially, lithography was used for copying printed text. Lithography as an art technique became popular in the first half of the 19th century, particularly in Germany, France and England. In Poland, the first lithographic workshop was established by Jan Siestrzyński in Warsaw. Lithography was used for making illustrations in books and magazines, including prints of landscapes and portraits made by well-known artists. Color lithography, used primarily for reproduction of paintings, developed around 1830. In the late 19th century, posters were printed in lithography technique. Starting from the late 19th century, lithography was using aluminum plates (prints are named algraphy) or zinc plates (prints – zincography), which are lighter and adjusted to a newer design of fast-print presses.
It is a flat print technique, in which printing and non-printing portions lie on the same surface. Drawing intended for graphic print is made on a lithographic stone (compact and homogenous lithographic limestone) or a metal plate. The principle of lithography is based on the properties of fat and water; places greased with a pencil or lithographic ink accept printing ink, whereas surfaces on the stone dampened with water repel ink. Depending on the method of making a drawing, there are three principal types of technique: direct method (drawing made on a stone or metal plate), indirect method (reprint, drawing made on paper is transferred in a press on a lithographic form), and offset lithography (drawing is engraved or etched on a polished surface of the stone). Depending on the type of drawing, applied drawing material or tools, lithography uses stones or metal plates – smooth or grained. Drawing is etched with the use of weak solutions of nitric acid, phosphoric acid and gum arabic in order to repel ink from surfaces without drawings. Ink applied with a roller is transferred only to grease portions of the drawing. Up to two hundred prints can be obtained in lithography technique.
Lithography, a flat print graphic technique, in which the artist himself makes a drawing directly on the lithographic stone, without the participation of craftsmen-lithographers.
Chromolithography – a multi-color lithographic printing technique invented in the 19th century. Every color on a multi-color print is obtained from a different lithographic plate. Accurate matching of plates is required for successful performance of a colorful painting. It was replaced by offset technique in the 20th century.
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