Etchings as Drawings
   

During the 1510s Italian and German printmakers began to develop the technique of etching. A steel or copperplate is coated with varnish, paint, or wax. This is known as the "etching ground." The artist then draws with a stylus, scraping through the ground to the metal surface. When the plate is bathed in acid the exposed lines are bitten away to create channels for the printing ink. Unlike the demanding and highly specialized skill of engraving, making an etching is comparable to the more familiar practice of drawing. Hence, the technique was readily accessible to the draftsman and perfectly adapted to replicating a drawing style. Because of the relative ease in execution artists began to use etching as a means of distributing much more informal expressions of their ideas. In this respect etching played an important role in generating a taste for drawings as works of art. From the beginning we find etchings that are highly experimental, and many that reflect pictorial inventions of a spontaneous and seemingly unfinished character.

INTRODUCTION | ETCHINGS | REMBRANDT | ROCOCO
PIRANESI | PARIS | MODERNITY | GLOSSARY | IMAGE INDEX | EXHIBITION INFORMATION

The Unfinished Print-Introduction Etchings as Drawings Rembrandt French Rococo Etched Proofs Piranesi and the Invented Fragment 19th Century Paris Modernity Glossary Image Index
Introduction Rembrandt

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