(Fr.: eau-forte)

Etching refers to a group of engraving processes (intaglio). Printing plates are prepared by attacking the surface with a corrosive liquid, except where protected by a suitable material (e.g., varnish) masking the design. The name is also used for the picture so produced. Pictorial etching gradually evolved from the earlier burin engraving. Both seem to have originated in Germany. One author attributes its invention to Daniel Hopfer, an armourer and engraver in Augsburg, who would have invented it in 1505, although the earliest dated print was made by Urs Graf in 1513.

Other sources ascribe the invention of etching to Franco Mazzuoli, called Parmigiano (1504-1540).

Dürer made etchings on iron between 1515 and 1518. These were probably the earliest important examples of an art that in the following centuries was practiced by great draftsmen and painters. Among the foremost in the history of etching are the works of Dürer, Callot, Rembrandt, Tiepoli, Piranesi, Goya, and Whistler. (Nadeau, Encyclopedia, p. xxx).

Etching, 1914. 122x90 mm Etching, 1914. 122x90 mm

Etching, 1914. 122 x 90 mm.