The first in a series of exhibitions on printmaking processes is now on view in the reading room of the Art & Architecture Library. Woodcut and relief printing, intaglio, lithography, and screen printing have all been used to produce book illustrations at various points in printing history. Intaglio is one of the oldest of these processes and is the focus of the current exhibition, "Intaglio: The Art of Incision."
Intaglio is a method of printmaking in which ink is held in incised grooves on a metal (usually copper or zinc) plate. When the plate is run through a press, the ink in the grooves is transferred to paper. Because these grooves can be created at different depths, the printed lines can vary in thickness and intensity. Printing an intaglio plate requires two conditions: a rolling press that can apply great pressure, and damp, pliable paper that can reach into the grooves when that pressure is applied. While the process of printing intaglio is always essentially the same, there are numerous methods for creating a plate, including engraving, etching, mezzotint, aquatint, collagraph, and others.
This exhibition uses examples from the Art & Architecture Library’s Locked Stacks Collection to illustrate some of these intaglio techniques. Highlights include the famed architect Andrea Palladio's edition of Julius Caesar's Commentarii (1575), a series of mezzotints after paintings by John Constable (1855), and Enrique Chagoya's modern treatment of Goya's Caprichos (1999); the exhibition also includes late Caprichos by Goya himself!
Visitors to the exhibition are welcome whenever the library is open.