HumanitiesWeb.org - Glossary definition: Etching
Etching

An etching is a print produced by the printing method known by the same name. It is done by coating a copper or zinc plate with a wax or similar protective shield and then the drawing is produced on the surface with a needle. Only the coating is cut, not the plate. When the drawing is complete, the plate is submerged in an acid bath and the areas that were exposed by the needle are cut by the acid. Then the plate is cleaned and inked and then wiped so ink is only in the recesses. The plate is then put in a press where it is pressed hard against a damp print paper. The resulting print is a reverse of the original drawing on the plate. This process dates back to about 1500. During the time of Rembrandt (1606-1669), and with his help, etchings became the most popular printing form. Other later artists known for their etchings are Goya, Whistler, Picasso, and Chagall.

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