1. An etched plate made with the use of acid.
2. An impression made from an etched plate.
Printmaking technique in which a metal plate (usually copper or zinc) is covered with a waxy overlayer (ground) and then drawn on with an etching needle. The exposed areas are then “etched”, or bitten into, by a corrosive agent (acid), so that they will hold ink for printing.
The earliest dated etching is by Urs Graf, 1513. Dürer was also a pioneer, with his The Cannon, etched on iron. Van Dyck made portrait etchings of his contemporaries (completed in line engraving by assistants, 1626–32). Rembrandt in his 300 plates showed himself the greatest of etchers in variety of style, range and depth of expression, in portraits, landscape and subjects taken either from scripture or from daily life. Other notable painter-etchers of the Netherlands were Hercules Seghers, Ostade, Teniers, Paulus Potter and Berchem. Callot, Claude, Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard are among the great French practitioners, and in Italy Tiepolo, with his delicate “Capricci”, Piranesi and Canaletto. Hogarth used etching as well as line-engraving; Rowlandson and Gillray etched in outline, their prints being completed by hand-coloring. Cruikshank’s etched illustrations to Dickens’s novels are also of note. Crome, Girtin, Cotman and Turner (who etched the outlines for his mezzotinted Liber Studiorum) give landscape
examples in England, and in France etching was revived by Théodore Rousseau, Daubigny, Corot, Millet and Méryon. Outstanding 20th-century practitioners includeChagall, Derain, Matisse, Picasso, Rouault, and Segonzac.