/in tal"yoh, -tahl"-/; It. /een tah"lyaw/, n., pl. intaglios, It. intagli /-tah"lyee/, v.
1. incised carving, as opposed to carving in relief.
2. ornamentation with a figure or design sunk below the surface.
3. a gem, seal, piece of jewelry, or the like, cut with an incised or sunken design.
4. an incised or countersunk die.
5. a figure or design so produced.
6. a process in which a design, text, etc., is engraved into the surface of a plate so that when ink is applied and the excess is wiped off, ink remains in the grooves and is transferred to paper in printing, as in engraving or etching.
7. an impression or printing from such a design, engraving, etc.
8. to incise or display in intaglio.
[1635-45; < It, deriv. of intagliare to cut in, engrave, equiv. to in- IN-2 + tagliare to cut < LL taliare, deriv. of L talea a cutting; see TALLY]

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Engraved or incised work on gemstones, glass, ceramics, stone, or similar material in which the design is sunk beneath the surface, the opposite of cameo and relief.

It is the most ancient form of gem engraving; the earliest known Babylonian cylinder seals date from с 4000 BC. The term intaglio is also used to describe printmaking processes in which the design is cut, scratched, or etched into a printing surface of copper, zinc, or aluminum; ink is then rubbed into the incisions or grooves, the surface is wiped clean, and the paper is embossed into the incised lines with pressure from a roller press. Intaglio processes are the most versatile of printmaking methods, as they can produce a wide range of effects.

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      in visual arts, one of the four major classes of printmaking techniques, distinguished from the other three methods (relief printing, stenciling, and lithography) by the fact that the ink forming the design is printed only from recessed areas of the plate. Among intaglio techniques are engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint, and mezzotint (qq.v.).

      Intaglio printing is the opposite of relief printing, in that the printing is done from ink that is below the surface of the plate. The design is cut, scratched, or etched into the printing surface or plate, which can be copper, zinc, aluminum, magnesium, plastics, or even coated paper. The printing ink is rubbed into the incisions or grooves, and the surface is wiped clean. Unlike surface printing, intaglio printing—which is actually a process of embossing the paper into the incised lines—requires considerable pressure. Intaglio processes are probably the most versatile of the printmaking methods, as various techniques can produce a wide range of effects.

      Virtually all intaglio plates are printed by similar means, using a roller press. This is essentially composed of two bearing rollers with a movable flatbed sandwiched horizontally between them. A viscous ink is forced into the incisions of the intaglio plate with a roller, and the excess ink is wiped away. The inked plate is laid face up on the bed, a sheet of wet printing paper is laid over it, and a blanket (to ensure even pressure) is draped over them both. Then the upper roller of the press is turned and the bed is drawn through; a pressure of several tons transmitted through the blanket presses the wet paper into the ink-filled crevices of the plate, thus producing the printed image.

      There are two ways of making intaglio prints in varied colours. In the method known as à la poupée (French: “with the doll”), a doll-shaped bundle of fabric is used to apply different colours to different areas of a single plate, which is then printed in the usual way. In the other method separate plates, each carrying a different colour, are successively overprinted on a single sheet of paper. When this multiple-plate method is used, the printer must be careful to ensure that each successive colour falls in its precise location. The most precise method of ensuring colour registration involves the use of pinholes to check alignment.

      in sculpture, engraving or incised figure in stone or other hard material such that all lines appear below the surface; it is thus the opposite of relief sculpture and is sometimes called “hollow relief.” When the technique is used in casting, the design is cut in reverse into a plaster shell, which is then filled with the casting substance; the hollow impressions of the mold appear in relief on the cast. The most common use of intaglio is for engraved seals and precious stones, which are formed to produce a positive imprint when pressed into a plastic material such as heated wax. This form of intaglio has been used since antiquity, an example being Mesopotamian cylinder seals. It was used extensively on ceremonial arms and armour as well.

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Universalium. 2010.

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