The New International Encyclopædia/Print

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PRINT (by apheresis, from ME. emprinten, enprinten, to imprint, from OF., Fr. empreinte, imprint, p.p. of empreindre, It. imprimere, to impress, imprint, from Lat. imprimere, inprimere, to impress, from in, in + premere, to press). In the arts, anything which is the result of, or which takes its principal characteristic from, having been printed upon or impressed. The most important use of the term, especially in connection with fine arts, is as being the only proper term for that picture which is produced by taking an impression, as upon paper, from an engraved plate or block. It is much the custom in the United States to speak of such pictures as ‘engravings,’ but this is, of course, erroneous and misleading, and the term ‘print’ is the one which should be used in such cases. The art of printing from an engraved plate is not wholly mechanical, because there are many cases in which the impression taken is not merely a flat transfer from the unmodified, hard surface. Thus, in printing woodcuts, it is customary to use what are called overlays, which are pieces of thin paper cut in peculiar shapes, accommodated to the design engraved upon the block; and these overlays are placed where needed behind the paper upon which the transfer is to be made in such a fashion as to cause certain parts of the printing to be stronger and blacker than others. So in the printing from dry point (q.v.) plates in which that process has been used for the completion of an etching (q.v.) it is quite usual to leave a certain amount of ink upon the surface of the copper plate. As in the Liber Studiorum (q.v.) the plates are etched and also charged with mezzotint or aquatint, so, in prints made by this process, the line work of the draughtsman is completed in a way by the surface work or gradation made by the printer. In ordinary commercial use, the word ‘print’ is used in a special sense, as meaning one of the more ordinary impressions from the block or plate in contradistinction to the proofs of different kinds. See Proof.