Since the beginning of the Renaissance, the art of intaglio print making has been counted among the great achievements of western art. Alongside the oil painting, sculpture, fresco and architecture, it has been the vehicle by which the peoples of the occidental world have expressed their ideas, aspirations and hopes, saving them for posterity.


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The Zodiac

The Making of an Etching

The copper plate etching is a form of intaglio printmaking wherein the grooves in the plate are not produced by carving them out with a burin (as is the case with engravings). The grooves in which the printing inks rest are produced by exposing the copper to acid which etches into the plate. Prints made from such plates have been extant since the second half of the 15th century.

The plate is coated with a thin asphalt layer, which protects the copper from the acid. The artist then draws with a needle the picture into the asphalt thereby scratching that protective layer away. Thus revealed, the copper shines through the black, looking much like a negative of the picture that will eventually be printed. The copper plate is placed into an acid bath and the drawing then becomes etched into the copper.

Once etched and cleaned of the asphalt layer, the plate is then coated with a layer of printers ink. The excess ink is then wiped off, leaving ink only in the etched grooves. A piece of moist paper is then placed over the plate and they are both rolled through the press.

Because of the presure applied to the copper plate and the moistness of the paper, the paper itself is pushed into the grooves of the plate thereby taking on the printers ink. The print is then taken off the plate and cleaned. This printing process is repeated for every print and has, like the method of making the copper plate, been unchanged for over 500 years.

Personal Guarantee

I have for 30 years endevored to live up to the high standards of print making which have been established over the centuries. I personally produce my own printing plates and have entrusted the best intaglio printers of Europe with the printing of my etchings. All prints are hand made in the technique described above. All etchings are printed in limited editions, signed and numbered. The plate is destroyed after the completion of the edition. Please contact me for more information.
Recommended reading: “Etching, Engraving and other Intaglio Printmaking Techniqes” by Ruth Leaf, Dover Publication, Inc. N.Y., 1984, ISBN 0-486-24721-X.

For further questions, feel free to send a message: miguelzorro53@yahoo.com