mezzotint

mezzotint
mezzotinter, n.
/met"soh tint', med"zoh-, mez"oh-/, n.
1. a method of engraving on copper or steel by burnishing or scraping away a uniformly roughened surface.
2. a print produced by this method.
v.t.
3. to engrave in mezzotint.
[1730-40; < It mezzotinto half-tint. See MEZZO, TINT]

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(from Italian mezza tinta, "halftone") Engraving produced by pricking the surface of a metal plate with innumerable small holes that will hold ink.

When the engraving is printed, the ink produces large areas of tone with soft, subtle gradations. Engraved or etched lines are often introduced to give the design greater definition. Mezzotint was invented in Holland by German-born Ludwig von Siegen in the 17th century but thereafter was practiced primarily in England. Its adaptability to making colour prints made it ideal for the reproduction of paintings. After the invention of photography, it was rarely used. In recent years the technique has been revived, especially by U.S. and Japanese printmakers.

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also called  black manner 
 a method of engraving a metal plate by systematically and evenly pricking its entire surface with innumerable small holes that will hold ink and, when printed, produce large areas of tone. The pricking of the plate was originally done with a roulette (a small wheel covered with sharp points), but later an instrument called a cradle, or rocker, was used. It resembles a small spade with a toothed edge, and its cutting action throws up rough ridges of metal called burrs. The burrs are scraped away in places intended to be white in the finished print. In the 21st century, the plate is often roughened by working over it in several directions with a carborundum stone.

      The term mezzotint (from Italian mezza tinta, “halftone”) derives from the capability of the process to produce soft, subtle gradations of tone. Used alone, however, mezzotint designs are often indistinct and, consequently, engraved or etched lines are introduced to give the design greater definition.

      Although the process of mezzotint was invented in Holland by the German-born Ludwig von Siegen (Siegen, Ludwig von) during the 17th century, it was soon practiced enthusiastically and almost exclusively in England. The technique is laborious and, consequently, unsuitable for original work. But its rich blacks, its subtle gradations of tone, and especially its adaptability to making colour prints made it ideal for the reproduction of paintings. During the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, mezzotints were the only means most people had of becoming acquainted with the paintings of major artists. After the invention of photography in the 19th century, mezzotint was rarely used, although in the 20th century the French artist Georges Rouault and the English printmaker Stanley William Hayter each made several plates. Its most distinguished mid-20th-century advocate, Yozo Hamaguchi, a Japanese artist living in Paris, developed techniques for printing colour mezzotint, and other artists, such as Mario Avati of Great Britain and Merlyn Evans of France, have mastered it.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mezzotint — Mez zo*tint, v. t. To engrave in mezzotint. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mezzotint — Mez zo*tint, n. [Cf. F. mezzo tinto.] A manner of engraving on copper or steel by drawing upon a surface previously roughened, and then removing the roughness in places by scraping, burnishing, etc., so as to produce the requisite light and shade …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mezzotint — (n.) 1738; see MEZZO (Cf. mezzo) + TINT (Cf. tint). As a verb, from 1827 …   Etymology dictionary

  • mezzotint — [met′sōtint΄, med′zōtint΄, mez′ōtint΄] n. [It mezzotinto: see MEZZO1 & TINT] 1. a method of engraving on a copper or steel plate by scraping or polishing parts of a roughened surface to produce impressions of light and shade 2. an engraving or… …   English World dictionary

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  • mezzotint —    or mezzoprint    In printmaking, an engraving process that is tonal rather than linear, or prints produced by this process. Developed in the seventeenth century, mezzotint was used widely as a reproductive printing process, especially in… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • mezzotint — UK [ˈmetsəʊˌtɪnt] / US [ˈmetsoʊˌtɪnt] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms mezzotint : singular mezzotint plural mezzotints art a picture printed from a piece of metal that has some rough areas and some smooth areas …   English dictionary

  • mezzotint — noun Etymology: modification of Italian mezzatinta, from mezza (feminine of mezzo) + tinta tint Date: 1800 1. a manner of engraving on copper or steel by scraping or burnishing a roughened surface to produce light and shade 2. an engraving… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • mezzotint — [ mɛtsəʊtɪnt, mɛzəʊ ] noun a print made from an engraved copper or steel plate, the surface of which has been scraped and polished to give areas of shade and light respectively. verb engrave in mezzotint. Derivatives mezzotinter noun Origin from… …   English new terms dictionary

  • mezzotint — mez•zo•tint [[t]ˈmɛt soʊˌtɪnt, ˈmɛd zoʊ , ˈmɛz oʊ [/t]] n. 1) a method of engraving on copper or steel by burnishing or scraping away a uniformly roughened surface 2) a print produced by this method 3) to engrave in mezzotint • Etymology:… …   From formal English to slang

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