Reproduction as a ProfessionPrinting is a process of duplication – a plate gives multiple impressions of an image. For this reason, until the invention of photography, prints were the fastest and most economical way to manufacture a great quantity of images normally restricted to a few privileged viewers. Artists understood that their creations could receive fame and recognition through the medium of prints. Many of them worked with professional engravers who specialized in a field known as reproductive printmaking.
Reproductive printmaking is often defined as a copy of a composition made in another medium (mainly drawing, architecture, sculpture or painting). However, celebrated prints could also be reproduced. The Küsel family, who were amongst Augsburg’s most important engravers in the early Baroque period, specialized in reproductive printmaking and copied valuable contemporary prints, particularly etchings by Jacques Callot and Stefano della Bella, who were well-known for their distinctive styles and innovations in subject matter. Reproductions paid tribute to their work, allowed a wider range of people to enjoy their compositions and facilitated the dissemination of visual ideas and stylistic vocabulary.