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The First Watercolors

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Canvas by Dürer Enlarge

A Young Hare
(Albrecht Dürer, 1502, Public domain)

The First Watercolors

The oldest watercolors ever found are attributed to the painter and sculptor Giovannino de Grassi and date back to the end of the 14th century. He made watercolor drawings of women, plants, and animals. Later, other artists, including Albrecht Dürer, developed techniques elaborated with this medium. For a long time, the latter was, however, mainly used in preparatory drawings or decoration.

In the 18th century, watercolor became more popular in Europe, and people began to speak about it as if were a new medium in its own right in the field of French art. In England, it was used to paint reproductions of popular works. During the 20th century, watercolor made a strong comeback and was used by many famous artists, such Max Ernst, Wols, Marc Tobey, and Jean-Paul Riopelle.

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