March 10th, 2019

words 6

Sunday Word: Chiaroscuro

chiaroscuro [lak-ruh-mohs]

1.1 Pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color; the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art
   2 A woodcut print in which the colors are produced by the use of different blocks with different colors.

2 An effect of contrasted light and shadow, the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface

3 The interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character)

4 the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow


In chiaroscuro, and in delicacy of execution he is not inferior to his master. (Randall Davies, Six Centuries of Painting)

A full moon rode in a sky rid at last of the mist of the day, and its light cast everything in an eerie chiaroscuro. (Eric Lustbader, Floating City)

With figures and objects materializing in space from darkness and gloom, chiaroscuro could be a pictorial metaphor for enlightenment - the proverbial light bulb moment, or the visual equivalent of something dawning on you. (Christopher Knight, Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA)


1680s, 'disposition of light and dark in a picture,' literally 'bright-dark,' from Italian chiaro 'clear, bright' (from Latin clarus; see clear (adj.)) + oscuro (from Latin obscurus; see obscure (adj.)) (Online Etymology Dictionary)