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Introduction to intaglio

Intaglio is a printmaking method that transfers images from a plate to paper. The image area is below the plate's flat surface. Drypoint and etching are types of intaglio. Drypoint involves scratching the plate to create a raised metal, while etching uses chemicals to remove metal. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

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Video transcript

Phil: Intaglio is a printmaking process or a category of printmaking. Intaglio is a way in which we transfer an image from a plate to a piece of paper. Intaglio is based on the fact that the image area is below the flat surface of the plate. Within intaglio there are several types or categories, or processes of printmaking that you might be familiar with. One is drypoint, which is a direct marring or scarring of the surface of a piece of metal or another plate by moving metal versus removing it. When you scratch on a drypoint plate, you are creating a burr or a raised metal from the metal that you've moved. Ink can sit underneath that burr as well as in the V-trough where the scratch was. Etching is another intaglio process. It is based on the removal of metal through a chemical process, etching with an acid or a base. This is different than drypoint. Drypoint's scratching of the plate is to create a burr or to move metal. In this case we're actually only barely scratching the surface just to remove the ground. The image area is created in a similar format being that it's the recesses of the plate that hold the ink that allow us to transfer it to paper.