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Method of etching that produces finely granulated tonal areas rather than lines, so that finished prints often resemble watercolour or wash drawings. A copper plate is exposed to acid through a layer of granulated resin or sugar, which yields a finely speckled gray tone when the plate is inked and printed. The texture and depth of tone are controlled by the strength of the acid baths and the length of time the plate is exposed to them. Aquatint became the most popular method of producing toned prints in the late 18th century; its most notable practitioner was Francisco Goya. In the 19th century Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro experimented with it, and in the 20th century the sugar aquatint was employed by Pablo Picasso, Georges Rouault, and André Masson.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on aquatint, visit Britannica.com.