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Intaglio (printmaking)

Family of printing and printmaking techniques / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Intaglio (/ɪnˈtæli, -ˈtɑː-/ in-TAL-ee-oh, -TAH-;[1] Italian: [inˈtaʎʎo]) is the family of printing and printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface and the incised line or sunken area holds the ink.[2] It is the direct opposite of a relief print where the parts of the matrix that make the image stand above the main surface.

Depressions are engraved or etched into a flat printing plate. Likely not to scale: grooves can be less than a millimetre wide.
The plate is covered in ink.
The ink is wiped off the surface of the plate, but remains in the grooves.
Paper is placed on the plate and compressed, such as by a heavy roller.
The paper is removed, and the ink has been transferred from the plate to the paper.
Micro-topography of an ordinary French post stamp (detail) showing the thickness of ink obtained by intaglio. The words la Poste appeared in white on red background and hence corresponds to areas with a lack of ink.
Banknote portrait pattern made with intaglio printing. Denomination: 1000 Hungarian forint. Depicted area: 18.1 by 13.5 millimetres (0.71 in × 0.53 in).

Normally, copper or in recent times zinc sheets, called plates, are used as a surface or matrix, and the incisions are created by etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint or mezzotint, often in combination.[3] Collagraphs may also be printed as intaglio plates.[4]

After the decline of the main relief technique of woodcut around 1550, the intaglio techniques dominated both artistic printmaking as well as most types of illustration and popular prints until the mid 19th century.