The celebration of the human form in artists' work is a particular Western tradition resulting from the Renaissance. When the Middle Ages came to a crushing halt in the late 14th century Europe was turned upside down and science and reason replaced medieval superstitions. As a consequence the human being became a central focus point in the arts. Riemenschneider, DaVinci, Dürer and countless other artists broke with the traditional view of the world and boldly used revolutionary ways of seeing and developed new techniques and media to use. That is when printmaking in the Western world was born.

The figure has remained an important subject in modern and contemporary art. From Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, to Picasso's Demoiselles on to Lucian Freud – working with the figure continues to be an indispensable part of the art world.