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Linocut's technique for creating artistic graphics became popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Before that, from 1890, it was used in Germany for the production of wallpaper. The matrix in linocut is made of linoleum, the technique is similar to woodcut but much simpler. The question of why is answered in the following article.

The most important information about linoleum

Linoleum, the matrix used in linocut, is a plastic mass made from, among other things, linen fibres, rosin, wood or cork flour and pigment, which is applied to jute fabric. Carving in this material is possible in all directions and chisels, knives, needles and many other tools are used to work it. The background of the show is cut out using grooves. Because linoleum is soft, the gouging process is much simpler than with woodcuts. The convex areas left are covered with paint.

The matrix is reflected by hand (by rubbing the reverse side of the paper with a bookbinder's block) or with a hand press.

The most famous graphic artists using the linocut technique

Among the most famous linocut printmakers can certainly include Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso or on the Polish ground - Stanisław Fijałkowski. The first one, eagerly used linocut at the end of 1930s, in his works often depicted simplified human figures and floral motifs. In addition, he also created entire linocut cycles based, for example, on Greek mythology.

Pablo Picasso, on the other hand, experimented a lot with colour linocut. The work from 1958 may serve as an example: "Portrait of a Woman after Cranach the Younger", for which he used as many as six matrices. Later he found his own way to make colour prints, which required the use of only one matrix. Picasso's linocuts are now highly sought after on the world antiquarian market.

Stanisław Fijałkowski belonged to a group of artists gathered around Władysław Strzemiński, in his early linocuts he referred to the experience of impressionism and cubism, later turning to abstraction.

Added 2022-06-01 in Terms dictionary by Alicja Graczyk

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