Umberto Giovannini’s Printmaking Tales is a remarkable combination of art and craft history, with a poetic approach to storytelling. Published by Opificio della Rosa and co-ordinated by Gianna Bentivenga, Maria Pina Bentivenga and Giovannini, the book is printed on Fabriano and Fedrigoni papers. The author is an artist and printmaker who is a professor at Central Saint Martins (CSM) at the University of the Arts, London, and the entire multifaceted project is a collaboration between Opificio della Rosa and the Printmaking Centre and Library at CSM. In his introductory note, Giovannini states that he wishes to conjure up a ‘travel map of printmaking’ for his readers, to excite curiosity in the graphic arts.
Each of the book’s eleven main chapters addresses and explains a different printmaking method, setting out technical details, cultural and economic context alongside imagined scenarios. Giovannini begins each chapter with a vivid anecdote, transporting readers to another time and place. The chapter on drypoint [puntasécca] describes a scene in Rembrandt’s workshop in 1653; the wood engraving [incisione xilografica] chapter drops us into a boat crossing a stormy part of the Mediterranean with artists François-Louis Schmied and Jean Dunand in 1929. The closing chapter, on serigraphy [serigrafìa], pictures Sister Corita Kent listening to Jefferson Airplane while she prepares to make a screenprint using the words of her composer friend John Cage.
The illustrations include many artists’ prints (including Tōshūsai Sharaku, Escher, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Peter Piech, etc.). Each chapter concludes with a contemporary print that used the technique just discussed. Giovannini’s own Sergio closes the chapter on woodcut [xilografia]; Marina Bindella’s Oltranza II demonstrates wood engraving [incisione xilografica]; Ingrid Ledent’s Secluded is an example of contemporary lithography [litigrafia].
The closing pages are devoted to mixed techniques [tecniche miste], seven works created by Paul Dewis including ‘digital printing with four-colour woodcut’ and other complex hybrids, a contemporary coda to this lyric suite of printmaking themes.
Printmaking Tales was launched at the Fedrigoni Studios in London on 9 March and in Rome on 26 May 2023.
Publishers Opificio della Rosa, based in Morciano di Romagna, will be holding printmaking workshops at the nearby Castle of Montefiore Conca this summer: Woodcut Reduction (16-18 June); Burin on copper symposium (2-6 August); and Cyanotype and drypoint on plexiglass (23-27 August).
Fedrigoni Freelife Vellum White 170g/m2
Arena Rough Ivory 170g/m2
Fedrigoni Materica Verdigris 120g/m2
Fedrigoni Materica Cobalt 120g/m2