To Copy Is to LearnCopying is an important aspect of the artistic tradition. Since antiquity, the act of copying was recognized as a way to develop technical skills and share an artistic heritage. Prints definitely enabled this communication amongst artists.
Etching approximates pen-and-ink drawings. The process consists of sketching with a needle on an acid-resistant resin (a ground) applied to a metal plate. When put into acid, only the uncovered parts of the metal are affected. Through this process, the acid creates incised lines that can hold the ink and transfer the image onto paper. This technique is fairly easy for anyone who can draw, which might explain why, amongst artists, etching became more popular than engraving in the late 1600s. Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century treatises on art specifically recommend learning drawing by copying etched compositions. In this view, it is interesting to study Callot’s prints as pedagogical models