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engraving

engraving, in its broadest sense, the art of cutting lines in metal, wood, or other material either for decoration or for reproduction through printing. In its narrowest sense, it is an intaglio printing process in which the lines are cut in a metal plate with a graver, or burin. Furrows are cleanly cut out, raising no burr, and then filled with ink which is transferred under high pressure to the printing surface of the press. The earliest known engravings printed on paper date from about the middle of the 15th cent. Among the early master engravers were Dürer, Schongauer, and Lucas van Leyden. Wood engraving differs from true engraving in that it is a relief process. During the 19th cent., steel engraving enjoyed a short popularity as a reproduction process because it made possible a large number of proofs, but it was superseded by photomechanical processes (see photoengraving). See also drypoint, etching, and mezzotint.

See A. M. Hind, History of Engraving and Etching (1923, repr. 1963); A. Gross, Etching, Engraving, and Intaglio Printing (1970); G. Duplessis, Wonders of Engraving (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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