in·​ta·​glio | \ in-ˈtal-(ˌ)yō How to pronounce intaglio (audio) , -ˈtäl-; -ˈta-glē-ˌō, -ˈtä- How to pronounce intaglio (audio) \
plural intaglios

Definition of intaglio

1a : an engraving or incised figure in stone or other hard material depressed below the surface so that an impression from the design yields an image in relief
b : the art or process of executing intaglios
c : printing (as in die stamping and gravure) done from a plate in which the image is sunk below the surface
2 : something (such as a gem) carved in intaglio

Illustration of intaglio

Illustration of intaglio

intaglio 1a

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Engraved or incised work where the design is sunk into the surface is called intaglio, and is the opposite of cameo, where the design is in relief. Intaglio designs are made on gemstones, glass, ceramics, stone, or similar material. It is the most ancient form of gem engraving: the earliest known Babylonian cylinder seals date from c. 4000 bce. The term intaglio is also used to describe printmaking processes in which the design is cut, scratched, or etched into a printmaking surface of copper, zinc, or aluminum; ink is then rubbed into the incisions or grooves, the surface 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.

Examples of intaglio in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web L'Amour Cupid is cast from a glass intaglio in 18K gold and set in a one-of-a-kind bezel. Beth Bernstein, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 This association is present in the smallest of details on both tiaras -- namely the cameo and intaglio portraits of classical deities and ancient figures that Napoleon and Joséphine often wore, including on the former's coronation crown. CNN, 3 Nov. 2021 While the inventories of Joséphine’s jewels list numerous examples of her cameo and intaglio jewelry, there are few details of the contents. Anthony Demarco, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 The gold seal matrix dates to between 1250 and 1350 A.D. and boasts a Roman intaglio engraved with an elephant. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 May 2021 Instead of resting flat, the object’s back has an uneven surface, with a hole exposing the reverse of the intaglio. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 May 2021 The intaglio is now gray in color due to damage caused by an unknown fire. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 May 2021 An intaglio from the 1400s, for example might depict a sacrifice to the Roman god Janus. Lia Picard, House Beautiful, 2 Apr. 2021 The store linoleum installer, Bud Fritzke, was attending night art classes at the U of M and making intaglio prints, and the owner, Florian Herring, was a stage actor for Lakeside Players in White Bear Lake. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, 13 Sep. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intaglio.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of intaglio

1644, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for intaglio

Italian, from intagliare to engrave, cut, from Medieval Latin intaliare, from Latin in- + Late Latin taliare to cut — more at tailor

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The first known use of intaglio was in 1644

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intaglio rilevato

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Cite this Entry

“Intaglio.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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