Intaglio is a printmaking technique in which the image is incised into a surface. Normally, copper or zinc plates are used as a surface, and the incisions are created by etching, engraving, drypoint, or mezzotint. Collographs may also be printed as intaglio plates. To print an intaglio plate, the surface is covered in ink, and then rubbed vigorously with tarlatan cloth or newspaper to remove the ink from the surface, leaving it only in the incisions. A damp piece of paper is placed on top, and the plate and paper are run through a printing press that, through pressure, transfers the ink from the recesses of the plate to the paper.
The term is sometimes also used for engraved seals, which leave a raised design when pressed on to the material to be stamped, and is an Italian word that means the activity of carving (mainly) wood for decorative purposes (for example, in furniture).
Intaglio printing is frequently used in the production of currency.
Contrast with relief print techniques.
See also: Rotogravure
A conceptually similar, but different meaning of the term Intaglio is applied to burial mounds. While most common are burial mounds which are raised above the natural surface of the terrain, there are much more rare forms where they are left as indents below the natural terrain. These are typically in some effigy shape such as that of a cat which can be seen in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, where it is the last remaining intaglio mound in the state.
Intaglio is also the name of a vector-based drawing program for Mac OS X, published by Purgatory Design (http://www.purgatorydesign.com/Intaglio/index.html)