An exhibition of etchings at the School of Art
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An exhibition of etchings at the School of Art

Incizjoni is open until May 23

An exhibition of etchings of landscapes, human figures, portraits and abstract compositions has opened at the Malta School of Arts in Valletta.

Incizjoni is being held at Palazzo De La Salle until May 23 and is open to the public from 8am to 7pm between Monday and Friday and from 9am to 1.30pm on Saturdays. 

The exhibition features works under the direction of Lino Borg. The exhibiting artists are: Lisa Ambrogio, Lino Borg, Raymond Calleja, Silvio John Camilleri, John Michael Caruana, Silvana Caruana, Adrienne Cassar, Kevin Ellul, Joe Galea, Joe Mark Micallef, Nathalie Pace, and Nicole Pace. The catalogue which accompanies the exhibition includes reproductions of all works on display photographed by John Ambrogio. 

Etching dates back to mediaeval times, when it was used to adorn metal objects such as armour.

It refers to a process where an image is created through the use of acid. A copper or zinc plate is first covered in wax, on which the desired image is drawn with a needle to uncover the metal underneath. When the plate is immersed in acid, the uncovered metal is ‘bitten into’ and this leaves the image engraved in the plate. This is then covered in semi-liquid ink and subsequently wiped in a way to retain only the ink which slid down into the groves through which the image is formed. An impression is then printed onto paper using a manually operated roller-press

The earliest dated etching (1515) is a work by Albrecht Dürer. Since then, etching was practiced by a host of artists, notably Rembrandt van Rijn and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The etching technique is often enhanced through related printing methods such as the aquantit, as noted in the works of Francisco Goya.

In Malta, Salvatore Busuttil (1798-1854) Michele Bellanti (1807-1883) included etchings in their works. Etching classes took off in earnest under the tutelage of Carmelo Mangion (1905-1997) after a roller printing press was donated to the Malta School of Art.

The school boasts of a noteworthy collection of etchings by artists such as Robert Caruana Dingli, Anton Inglott, Emvin Cremona, Willie Apap and Frank Portelli. Other printing media currently taught at the School Of Art include woodcuts, linoprints and litography.

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