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Modern Art Meets Art History: “Jig Saw” by Joe Semprini

First, what inspired “Jig Saw” by Joe Semprini.

"Jig Saw" by Joe SempriniWe’d love to say that Joe Semprini’s latest artwork was inspired as a study in the meta-Art trend, and it actually is, but that is not what inspired Joe. The actual fact is that after Joe had fun creating some digital art using his iPad and a free application called Canva® he simply wanted to re-create a couple of the drawings, using one of his favorite mediums, to create the art on a larger scale, so he painted it. Since then, we thought it would make a great “actual” puzzle so you can buy it here. Also, check out the artwork for purchase as an original, or re-print.

Next, Some History of the Jig Saw Puzzle Itself.

The history of the Jig Saw Puzzle can be traced back to the nineteenth century when a wooden puzzle was the most popular type of jigsaw puzzle. During the Great Depression, the puzzles became a popular distraction for those looking for an inexpensive way to pass time. Many companies started mass-producing puzzles made from cardboard. The technique of die-cutting these puzzles significantly reduced their cost. These puzzles became a popular source of entertainment for the general public, and advertisers began to use them to spread their own images. Jigsaw puzzle companies also began to explore the creative designs of nature. By the 1900s, cardboard jigsaw puzzles had become the dominant product, and the antique wooden puzzles were a rare, high-end item.

British Library, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

British Library, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout the 18th century, a new market for the puzzle emerged in London.

In 1740, a tradesman named Thomas Boreman was publishing a series of infant books. In his apprenticeship, Spilsbury was exposed to dissected maps, and he may have received some instruction from Madame de Beaumont. William Darton was a keen marketer who helped spur the development of the jig saw puzzle.

In the early nineteenth century, jigsaw puzzles were originally meant to teach geography to affluent children. John Spilsbury, a London-based mapmaker, crafted the first jigsaw puzzle in the 1760s. His idea of a puzzle involving a dissected world map was so popular that the Royal Family even had a large cabinet made for it.

image of girl in skater dress with semprini artwork
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