Italian language and cultural school for foreigners
Chalcography workshop
“Firenze nell'Arte”

Chalcography course

Chalcography or chalcography printing is a type of etched printing system. It takes its name from the copper sheets used by early engravers. Today zinc sheets are also used, even if, for hardness, the best material is copper.

The name originates from the Greek words: chalkos rame and grápheim, engraving, writing, in other words the art of engraving on a copper sheet.

Before the advent of this technique, that is, until the mid-fifteenth century, the reproduction of illustrations was done exclusively with the wood inlay technique.

In chalcography, the engraving is carried out on a metal sheet, and the ink deposits in the recesses, that is in the etched parts and not on the relief parts as in wood inlay.


  • Historical introduction to chalcography
  • Direct approach to the technique: examination of original plates and prints
  • Creation of sketches for understanding the various techniques
  • Preparation of a zinc or copper sheet (polishing, bevelling).
  • Engraving: the drypoint technique.
  • Engraving: the acid etching technique.
  • Engraving: the aquatint technique.
  • Engraving: the soft-ground technique.
  • Inking with colour etching and cleaning of the printing sheet.
  • Printing with the prepared plate/s with a hand-operated ‘screw’ press.