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A printmaking method in which the design is scratched directly into a copper plate with a sharp tool that is held like a pen; the term is also applied to the print so made. It is a more spontaneous technique than line engraving, but not so fluent as etching. A distinctive feature of drypoint is provided by the burr—the tiny upturned edge of the furrow made by the cutting tool. This produces a rich, velvety quality in the print, but because it soon wears down only a limited number of good impressions can be taken. Drypoint seems to have originated in the last quarter of the 15th century, the Master of the Housebook being the main pioneer. His prints are in pure drypoint, but the technique has been more often used in combination with other processes, particularly etching. Rembrandt, for example, often touched up his etchings in drypoint. He also made a few prints purely in drypoint, notably one of his most celebrated works, The Three Crosses, and he sometimes used special papers to bring out the softness of the burr.

Subjects: Art.

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