Aquatinta – Definition & Meaning

Aquatinta is a term that is often associated with the world of art and printmaking. It is a technique that is used to create tonal effects in etchings and engravings. While the term may be familiar to those who are involved in the art world, many may not be aware of its true meaning and origins. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of aquatinta, as well as its associations, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences.


Aquatinta is a printmaking technique that involves the use of a powdered resin to create a tonal effect on a metal plate. The plate is first coated with a layer of resin, which is then heated to create a granular surface. The plate is then immersed in an acid bath, which etches the exposed areas of the plate. The result is a print that has a range of tonal values, from light to dark.


The term aquatinta comes from the Italian words “aqua” and “tinta,” which mean “water” and “tint,” respectively. The technique was first developed in the 18th century by French artist Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, and it quickly gained popularity among printmakers. The aquatinta technique allowed artists to create prints that had a greater range of tonal values than traditional etchings and engravings.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, aquatinta is defined as “an etching process in which tone rather than line is emphasized and which uses a porous ground of acid-resistant resin to produce a print resembling a watercolor.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines aquatinta as “a method of etching which produces a range of tones by varying the depth of the etched lines.”


Aquatinta is often associated with the world of art and printmaking. It is a technique that has been used by many famous artists, including Francisco Goya, William Blake, and Rembrandt. Aquatinta prints are known for their rich tonal values and their ability to create a range of textures and effects.


Synonyms for aquatinta include aquatint, aquatinting, and aquatinted.


Antonyms for aquatinta include line etching, drypoint, and engraving.

The Same Root Words as Aquatinta

The same root words as aquatinta include aqua, which means water, and tinta, which means tint or dye.

Example Sentences

  1. The artist used the aquatinta technique to create a print that had a range of tonal values.
  2. The aquatinta print resembled a watercolor painting, with its rich textures and subtle variations in tone.
  3. The printmaker carefully applied the powdered resin to the metal plate, creating a granular surface for the aquatinta process.
  4. The aquatinta print was a masterpiece of tonal values, with its deep blacks and delicate grays.
  5. The artist experimented with different aquatinta techniques, creating prints that ranged from bold and dramatic to subtle and nuanced.
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