As a printing technique, engraving was invented in Germany about 1430. Martin Schongauer was one of the first artists to use the technique.

Among famous artists who have produced etchings are Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt och Francisco Goya. They gained international fame for their etchings which reached a much larger public than their paintings.

Well-known Scandinavian etchers are Edvard Munch, Anders Zorn, Outi Heiskanen, Palle Nielsen, Lena Cronqvist and Marja Ruta.