Etchings – Visual Art Technique

The art of etching. The term had been used until the 17th century to designate acid, currently called nitric when diluted with water. Because it is used in one of the calcography processes. The process in which the image obtained in the print is fixed on a metallic plate. This is done after the corrosion of the artist’s traces by nitric acid, the matrix used for the print of the engraving, and the engraving itself, already completed.

How To Make An Etching

The process takes place from the coating of the plate – which can be iron, copper, brass, or zinc – with a varnish of protection, followed by the incision of the design to be obtained, with a stylus or other metal-tipped tool. Thus, the drawing appears where the varnish was removed, without scratching the metal, allowing the action of acid, which forms the grooves in which the paint will be placed. 

The time of the dip in the acid can define different shades and the process can be repeated countless times. The etching method can be combined with other engraving processes, in particular the drypoint, but it differs from all others in that it is the only one in which the engraving is done entirely by the action of acids.

With the precision of the chisel technique, the etching opposes the spontaneity of the line, which brings the design air to the printed image. You can see many of these etching designs in the best trumpet brands in the market today. 

Rembrandt (1606-1669) is considered to be one of the greatest etchers in art history ( Três Cruzes ), often associating etching with dry point. They also resort to the etching Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) ( Cannon ), Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) (the famous series, Os Caprichos , published in 1799 and O Gigante , ca.1820, among others), Lucas van Leyden (ca.1494-1533) and Parmigianino (1503-1540), of the first Italians to produce original etchings from their own designs.