Intaglio printmaking—a process in which a relief is cut into a surface so that it can retain ink—is one of the oldest known forms of graphic art. Copper or zinc plates serve as the ground to carry an image created through the processes of aquatint, drypoint, etching, engraving, and mezzotint. Some of the earliest impressions on paper were made in Germany in the 1430s. Engraving, the oldest and most laborious intaglio technique, is believed to have originated with the work of goldsmiths, who would press the face of an object—such as a coin—into paper as a way to keep a record of their designs.
This grouping, which includes works from the early 16th century to the 20th century, provides an introduction to this style of printmaking.