aquatint

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aq·ua·tint / ˈäkwəˌtint; ˈak-/ • n. a print resembling a watercolor, produced from a copper plate etched with nitric acid. ∎  the technique or process of making pictures in such a way. • v. [tr.] create (a scene or picture) in such a way.

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aquatint Method of engraving on metal plates. Aquatint was invented in the mid-18th century to imitate the effect of brush drawing or watercolour. It involves sprinkling a plate with fine grains of acid-resistant resin, fusing the resin to the metal (modern enamel spray makes this unnecessary), and letting acid bite around and through some of the grains. Printmakers can achieve extremely varied effects depending on the thickness of the resin and the immersion time. Aquatint enables line engraving or drawing on the resin with an acid-resistant varnish. Goya and Picasso were masters of the process.

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aquatint (ä´kwətĬnt´), etching technique. The plate is covered with a porous ground, or resist, through which acid bites many tiny pockmarks in the metal. If an area is to be completely white, that part of the plate is coated with varnish. The plate, when inked, becomes a printing template. The tones produced resemble those of a wash drawing. The technique is said to have been invented in the 1760s by J. B. Le Prince (1734–84). It is often used in combination with other types of etching. Goya's series of mixed aquatint etchings, Los Caprichos, Desastres de la Guerra, Tauromaquia, and Proverbios, is considered a supreme example of this technique.

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aquatint method of etching on copper. XVIII. — F. aquatinte, It. acqua tinta, repr. L. aqua water, tincta dyed (see TINT).