The Printmaking-Das Druckbilden

Posted on 13. May, 2010 by in Culture, History, Language, People, Travel, Uncategorized

As the first printing was developed, a new revolution took place, books, bibles and scripts that were ones copied by hand written notes, often leading (dazu bringen ) to spelling mistakes or even making an entire sentence into a different version was suddenly replaced by the printing press in 1440 . Even when Pope Pius II read the first printed bible, he noted:

“All that has been written to me about that marvelous man seen at Frankfurt  is true. I have not seen complete Bibles but only a number of various books of the Bible. The script was very neat and legible, not at all difficult to follow—your grace would be able to read it without effort, and indeed without glasses.”

Johannes Gutenberg was the first person to invent (erfinden) printing in Europe, excluding far eastern printing methods of course.

His invention of mechanical (mechanisch) movable type printing started the Printing and is widely regarded (betrachtet)  the most important event of the modern days. It played a key role in the development of the reformation and the scientific revolution and laid the material basis for the modern economy and the spread the learning knowledge.

For years, book printing was considered (in Betracht ziehen) a true art form. Typesetting or the placement of the characters on the page, including the use of Ligatures was passed down from master to apprentice. In Germany, the art of typesetting (Schriftsetzen) was termed the “black art,” in allusion to the ink-covered printers. It has largely been replaced by computer typesetting programs, which make it easy to get similar results more quickly and with less physical labor. Some practitioners (Praktiker)  continue to print books the way Gutenberg did. For example (Beispiel), there is a yearly convention of traditional book printers in Mainz, Germany.

Though what many don’t know is that Gutenberg was most likely in connection with the artist “ Master of Playing Cards”

Who was the first major master in the history of printmaking. He was a German engraver and probably also an active painter in southwestern Germany from the 1430s to the 1450s, who has been called “the first personality in the history of engraving.

Although he comes very early in the history of engraving for prints the Master of the Playing Cards is certainly not the inventor of the technique, but he is the first significant artist to use either printmaking technique. After him come a series of other significant engravers with a training as either an artist or a goldsmith. (Goldschmied)  And this includes Gutenberg.

 Leading- dazu bringen

Invent- erfinden

Mechanical- Mechanish

regarded- betrachtet

considered- in Betracht ziehen

Typesetting- Schriftsetzen

Practitioners- Praktiker

Example- Beispiel

Goldsmith- Goldschmied

Learn the German words here- with audio!

4 Responses to “The Printmaking-Das Druckbilden”

  1. Brian Erwin 14 May 2010 at 12:37 am #

    The English translation of Das Druckbilden is not “printmaking”. Printmaking is an Art form using print which is sometimes rather abstract. The correct word is simply “Printing”

  2. sandra 14 May 2010 at 4:32 am #

    Hi Brian, German Duden gives explanation as well, printing is correct, yet its a borrowed word that derived from English language-
    This is what the Duden states:
    […dma:nd], das; – [engl., eigtl. = Drucken auf Anforderung]: Herstellung von Druck-Erzeugnissen auf Bestellung, …

  3. Scheich Josef 15 May 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    Dear Brian and Sandra,

    according to the wikipedia article

    “Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting.”

    Printed books – like the Gutenberg bible – often contain not only text but also some prints to illustrate the text. Thus “Printing” is more general than “Printmaking”. I therefore agree with the first comment of Brian Erwin that the
    English part of the title of this article should be just “Printing”.

    Now to the German part of the title. If you look at the corresponding German version

    of the cited wikipedia article you find that “Grafik” or “Graphik” is a correct translation of “Printmaking”. If you want to emphasize the “making” of “Prints” then you can try to find
    an appropriate translation of the word “making”.

    In dictionaries you will find

    making = die Herstellung, die Anfertigung, die Fabrikation, die Produktion, die Bildung, …

    A good German translation would be

    Printmaking = die Grafikherstellung.

    But “das Grafikbilden” is not correct! Why?
    Look at the following words:

    glass making = Glasherstellung
    beer making = Bierherstellung
    bread making = Brotherstellung
    jewelry making = Schmuckherstellung
    silk making = Seidenherstellung
    tent making = Zeltproduktion
    wine making = Weinproduktion
    decision making = Entscheidungsbildung
    opinion making = Meinungsbildung

    You see that in these composite words the words “Herstellung” or “Produktion” are being used except in the words involving “decision” and “opinion” which are being formed or built.
    There “Bildung” is being used. Since prints are being produced a correct translation of “Printmaking” is therefore “Grafikherstellung”.

    Now assume, you want to use the English word “Printmaking” in the more general sense

    Printmaking = Making of Printings


    Printing = das Drucken
    Making = die Herstellung

    Printmaking = die Druckherstellung

    The German word “Druckbildung” means the build-up of pressure, which is not the topic of the article. Therefore I disagree with the claim of Brian Erwin that “Printing” is a correct translation of “Das Druckbilden”.

    In my opinion the correct title of the article would be

    “The Printing – Das Drucken”

    In connection with Gutenberg Germans usually speak of the “Buchdruck” or book printing. Thus a better title might be

    “The Book Printing – Der Buchdruck”.

    In conclusion I like to point out the following: If you translate an English composite word into German, then you can not simply take any translation of the parts of the English word and obtain a correct translation of the English composite word by combining the translated parts to one word. You need a lot of experience to get a translation acceptable in German.

    In the second comment Sandra talks about the “printing on demand” = “Drucken auf Anforderung”. But it is not clear to me, what she wants to say. Maybe Sandra can clarify her comment.

    With best wishes from Germany,


    But you

  4. sandra 17 May 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Dear Josef,
    Thank you for the information, but again as a side note, wikipedia “can” as well, be a unreliable source when it really comes down to it-
    Printmaking was developed far before Gutenberg- See blog- or a search on this- results are far-Eastern, they invented printing long before europeans- To understand a word we must seek as to where it derived from- in this case, many words are borrowed from cultures- Thus, you end up being a historian and language translator-:-)
    Maybe a search in “Alt-Deutsch” could give better results!! Only results in search engines are : Druckschrift- thus leads to Druck-machen?- Druck-Entwicklung. There is no real right or wrong.
    Another suggestion in Printmaking:
    Mezzotinto {n} [Schabkunst]
    art mezzotint [printmaking]


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