What is a mezzotint?

Akin to drypoint, a mezzotint is designed to create half-tones and was developed around 1642.

It involves evenly roughening the surface of the plate with a spiked metal tool called a rocker. If inked the resulting print would be entirely black at this point. The artist smoothens selected sections of the roughened plate with a burnishing tool to create the image, working from “dark to light”. In the less common “light to dark” method only selected parts of the plate are roughened where the dark sections of the image are to be.

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