The Bite of the Print: Satire and Irony in Woodcuts, Engravings, Etchings, Lithographs and Serigraphs

The Bite of the Print: Satire and Irony in Woodcuts, Engravings, Etchings, Lithographs and Serigraphs

The Bite of the Print: Satire and Irony in Woodcuts, Engravings, Etchings, Lithographs and Serigraphs

The Bite of the Print: Satire and Irony in Woodcuts, Engravings, Etchings, Lithographs and Serigraphs

Excerpt

The prints most familiar to most people are those we all carry around on the ends of our fingers. These intricate little arrangements of loops and whorls and parallel curving lines have several points of similarity with prints as works of art. The clearest common point is the multiple image, or, as printmakers and curators, collectors and dealers quite properly insist, the multiple original. We go through our days touching, holding, feeling, hefting, pushing, pulling, and on everything we touch -- wood, stone, paper, metal -- we leave our prints. The housekeeper's despair, the policeman's hope, the prints are our mark. We have been there. The prints identify us. No matter how many prints we leave behind us, each is an original; each corresponds to all the others and it is that correspondence that is crucial, not the correspondence to the fleshy pads at our fingers' ends. For although we call those pads our prints, surely nothing is a print until it has been printed. The true fingerprint is the mark on the paper, made, like all prints, under pressure, and made, like many, by a rolling pressure. Even in criminal identification the print on the pistol is compared, not to the pad of flesh, but to the witnessed and certified mark that pad is known to make upon paper.

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