Spain – Paper Making

by Dena Falken

Spain Spain - Paper Making


As I travel with Legal-Ease International I get to see many countries and learn so many interesting things. I love Paper, always have and find the papers around the world fascinating.

            Before the existence of paper as we know it, people communicated through pictures and symbols carved into the bark of trees, painted on the walls of caves and marked on papyrus or clay tablets. About 2,000 years ago, inventors in China took communication to the next level by creating canvases in which they recorded their drawings and notes. And the paper as we know it today was born!

            The scroll was first created by Ts’ai Lun, a Chinese court clerk in Lei-Yang, China. Ts’ai apparently mixed mulberry bark, hemp, and rags with water, kneaded it into a mash, squeezed the liquid, and hung a thin rug in the sun to dry. In the 8th century, about 300 years after the discovery of Ts’ai, the mystery reached the area that is today in the Middle East. However, it took another 500 years for paper production to reach Europe. One of the first paper mills was built in Spain and paper soon began to be produced in factories throughout Europe.

            At the time, with the simplest paper to produce, paper was used to print important books, bibles, and legal documents. The first paper made in Europe was in 1151 in Játiva, Spain. The first woodcuts printed on paper were playing cards made in Germany in the early 15th century. Metal engraving has been introduced decades after woodcarving and has significantly improved results.

A Brief History of Printmaking

            Before the rise of print, graphics were not considered an art form. It was perceived as a form of communication. It was not until the 18th century that art prints were considered originals, and in the 19th century, artists began producing limited editions of their works and signing these prints for verification.

            Engraving is as old as rock art, when it was used not only on rocks and bones, but also on cave walls. About 3,000 years ago, the Sumerians engraved drawings in stone cylindrical seals. However, historians believe that it was the Chinese who were responsible for the first form of printing in the 2nd century AD, from which they made a race. However, the first authentic carvings were created by the Japanese in the middle of the 8th century, which consisted of rubbing wooden blocks, which were transformed into Buddha amulets.

            Europeans printed textiles in the 6th century, but paper printing began later when papermaking technology arrived from the Far East. The first paper was made in 1151 in Jativa, Spain. In the 15th century, the first woodcuts were printed on paper in the form of playing cards. Shortly before that, Henry VI made the first royal seals and stamps.

            Metal carving began decades after the woodcut. It was an art used only by goldsmiths and gunsmiths. The first print is from 1446, it is a German print. Germany is responsible for the development of the bas-relief press from which it came to Italy and the Netherlands.

            In the 17th century, the press was perceived as an ornamental ornament throughout Europe. This form of engraving was used mainly to decorate portraits and paintings. The bas-relief print was made of acid at the time, because the artists of the time considered it a creative work. Although the prints were mostly made in Italy, most of the prints were from foreigners such as Jacque Callot and Claude Lorrain of France and Jose de la Ribera of Spain. In the Netherlands, the engraving was done by master painter Rmbrandt, who made about 300 engraved plates.

            In the 18th century, all engravings were directed to Italy with the rise of Tiepola. Francisco Goya is believed to have been strongly influenced by Tiepola. Then came Canaletto, considered the most important architectural engraver, with about 3,000 architectural prints. In the 19th century, graphics arrived in France and printers like Ingres, Delacroix, Theodore Rousseau and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot were in high demand. Impressionists such as Manet and Degas are also considered important graphic designers in this period.

            In the first half of the 20th century, he directed the print shop of Pablo Picasso and then Málaga. Picasso is even credited with making France fertile ground for the press. Then came Braque, Matisse, Rouault, Chagal, Joan Miro, Max Ernt, Jan Arp and Salvador Dali, among many others. Germany saw Emil Nolde, Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernt Barlach, Erich Heckel and Oskar Kokoschka. They were expressionists.

            In England, Henry Moore was busy making sculptures and lithographs. In the United States, printers such as George Wesley Bellows produced lithographs, etchings by John Sloan and Reginald March, and drypoint by Milton Avery. However, America’s most important printers were Edward Hopper and Ben Shahn.

Facts About Art In Spain

            Cueva de la Pileta, on a limestone mountain southwest of Ronda, contains arguably Spain’s oldest art form; miles of 25,000-year-old prehistoric images and symbols. After the fall of Rome and the Visigothic government, Spain sought artistic leadership in neighboring North Africa. The Moors of North African descent brought an expressive Islamic motif that merged with the Christian stylistic form. Siglo de Oro, the age of Spanish art, emerged in the early 17th century with naturalism and religious paintings. The 20th century represented avant-garde artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, who tackled political, social and cultural issues in sculpture, painting and even photography.

Artistic Styles

            Spanish Baroque artist José de Ribera applied the chiaroscuro technique in his work. The sharp lighting in contrast to the dark shadows gave the subjects an intensity of movement. Spanish neoclassical artist Francisco Goya experimented with an inversion in often sinister compositions with dark paintings. Salvador Dalí led the surrealist dream movement from the early years of Impressionism, while Pablo Picasso, another artist with many distinct styles, was a pioneer of Cubism.


            Spain has the second highest number of World Heritage Sites in the world. Architectural wonders such as the Monastery of El Escorial are home to paintings by El Greco and Velasquez, as well as a collection of tapestries woven from drawings by Goya. The Alhambra Palace in Granada has Mudejar elements that derive from Islamic influences. In Cordoba, La Mezquita displays a number of artistic elements, such as a shell-shaped marble ceiling and decorative Byzantine mosaics. The exterior facade of the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona has a Gothic and Modernist look. It is topped by a mosque-inspired tower and is gaily decorated with floral-tiled pillars and busts. The interior of the concert hall is ethereal, lit by a stained glass dome.

Printing Press In Spain

            Printing arrived in Spain in the early 1970s, but although it was printed in at least 29 cities before 1521, the impact of printing on the book trade and especially on the authors’ position was very gradual6. Until the invention of the printing press, no author made a living selling his works to the general public. Such a situation in Spain lasted at least until 1600, when even then patronage was an important source of income for most authors.

             A century before the press arrived in Spain, Spanish literature tended to monopolize members of great aristocratic families: not only did they write frequently, they could only pay. Across Europe, the press brought first the lower nobility and then the lower and middle classes into contact with written literature; as writers and, perhaps more importantly, as clients. This gradual but eventually massive increase in readership also caused a slow but significant shift in the notion of literary reputation. The slow transfer of manuscripts took decades to gain an extensive reputation.