Here goes the first of a series of Old-Style engravings based upon the magical landscapes of Maremma, the heart of Tuscany. It’s a view of a podere, the classic country house in this region of Italy. The golden corn fields, here, are often filled with hay bales during the harvest season, and a country road sided by cypresses up on a hill always leads to a podere. As butteri are the cowboys of Maremma, a podere is a ranch or farmhouse. Generally, poderi are built with stones, and the many are from XVIII and XIX century.
The vintage feeling is created by reproducing the same ancient techniques handed down by printmakers and mixing them on digital media.
An extensive research was made to study a great number of etchings and old engraved prints from the masters such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrant, Giovan Battista Piranesi, Francisco Goya, Gustave Doré and Escher. Each artist had his own style of lines, patterns and texturing effects obtained with different tools like mezzotint rockers, roulets, burnishers and the burin (or graver, bulino in Italian). A special focus was made on the typical subjects and elements used by engravers in Tuscany, Italy, to represent the countryside between the XVI and XIX centuries.
Lots of local old news papers (such as L’Ombrone, from the name of the main river of Maremma and the second of Tuscany) were viewed especially to study fonts, typography, graphic elements and composition.
In Printmaking, woodcut (or xilography, xilografia in Italian) and lithography (litografia) are the main Old-Style techniques. Generally the engraving on the matrix can be in relief, with a protruding inked surface, or with the image incised into a surface, like the techniques of the intaglio family. The matrix can be engraved directly, like in the mezzotint (Maniera Nera) or drypoint (Punta Secca), or with acids, used in techniques like etching (Acquaforte), Aquatint (Acquatinta), wax engraving (Cera Molle).
These kind of engravings are great for wine labels! They always give that taste of old time traditions, soul of a high quality product. Captain Sir Joe sometimes loves to spice them up with a bit of modern style and the secrets of a Wacom Intuos tablet.
Remember: wine lovers love labels!
Check out the next post to have a close-up of this vintage print!