In order to answer the question, what is the difference between intaglio and relief printing? we must first explore the differences between different types of intaglio printing. Intaglio, as the name implies, consists of running pictures through a frame with ink rollers that are positioned on either side. This method of printing allows for greater precision and greater volume of the finished print than most other methods do. It also has a unique visual impact that sets it apart from other styles of printing.
Intaglio printing was invented during the renaissance in Italy when a printer who was experimenting with the production of highly detailed prints discovered that when he used a raised surface to help guide the print, the resulting image was much more detailed than a traditional cut away piece. The raised surface, or plate, was actually a thin piece of wood that was attached to the bottom part of the printed image. This allowed the printer to experiment with different types of effects, such as using different color combinations and different shapes. This discovery eventually came to be used by the artists of Renaissance Italy and became known as relief printing. The term “relief” referred not only to the raised image on the plate, but to the fact that the image was cut away from the rest of the print to create a clean, even border.
Relief, on the other hand, refers to the entire print being cut away from the support at the edges so that the text or images can be seen. This method requires several artist practices that are very different from those employed by early printers. These prints would often be done on wooden frames that had been attached to walls or individual partitions. A relief print would then be made from the pieces of the original frame and glued onto the walls.
The Renaissance began what would become the Golden Age of printmaking. Many of the most beautiful and important artistic works of the time were produced during this time period. The most famous artists of the time worked for themselves using a variety of new processes that were much more elaborate than anything that had been used before. One of these new processes, block printing, was revolutionary in its design. It allowed several pieces of wood, covered in ink, to be printed on the same sheet.
Block printing was combined with an etching process that involved using an abrasive material on the surface of the wood blocks. As the blocks were pressed into the ink, the natural scratches and patterns in the wood became absorbed into the ink. As the blocks were removed from the printing press, the etching process revealed the beautiful colors that were blended into the print. This technique became so popular that it quickly replaced the opaque techniques that had previously been used.
When the Renaissance came to an end, new technology replaced the use of the blocks and the etchings. Metal plates, called a “burin” by the Italians, were developed to create intaglio prints. The plates used the same materials and techniques as the burins but the thickness of the plates was a factor when deciding the size and sharpness of the final image.
Intaglio and relief printing then became two of the most popular media for creating fine art prints. But what is the difference between intaglio and relief? Both involve the production of a work of art on a flat or raised surface, but the techniques used are drastically different. For intaglio, a single work of art is displayed on the entire surface of the block or plate. A relief print, on the other hand, is produced on a linen-based plate with raised grooves that resemble those found in a woodcut.
If we look back into the history of both relief and intaglio, we can see the evolution of ink and the printing process that made these techniques prosper. Woodcut printing required large quantities of ink because it required that artists create a large number of images to express their thoughts. This is not the case with relief, which requires smaller amounts of ink because the artwork being printed does not require that much detail. In this way, relief allows artists to express themselves more explicitly than they could otherwise. Intaglio, on the other hand, would have been extremely time consuming, expensive, and complicated for an average Renaissance artist.