Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya

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Aquatint: From Its Origins to Goya

Published on November 9, 2021

In the second half of the eighteenth century, the blossoming of a new printmaking technique—aquatint—vastly expanded possibilities for creating and disseminating images across Europe. Aquatints offered the unprecedented means to mimic the gestural brushstrokes and subtle tonal variations of ink, wash (diluted ink), and watercolor drawings. Produced in multiples, aquatints were avidly collected by enthusiasts as a form of visual instruction, an intellectual pursuit, and a social pastime. Typically printed in an array of brown and black inks, these compositions engaged viewers with scenes of faraway places, scientific phenomena, and imaginary visions. The atmosphere of excitement and intrigue around the innovation of aquatint aligned with the Enlightenment period’s preoccupation with discoveries and advances in knowledge. Most of these selected works from the National Gallery’s exceptional collection of early aquatints have never been on public view.

The exhibition runs from October 24, 2021 - February 21, 2022 at the National Gallery of Art, 6th St and Constitution Ave NW, Washington D.C.

To learn more about this exhibition, please click here

For more events and exhibitions, please visit the ARC Calendar.