Definition of chiaroscuro
1 : pictorial representation in terms of light and shade without regard to color
2a : the arrangement or treatment of light and dark parts in a pictorial work of art The artist uses chiaroscuro to create the perception of depth in a two-dimensional work.b : the interplay or contrast of dissimilar qualities (as of mood or character)
3 : a 16th century woodcut technique involving the use of several blocks to print different tones of the same color; also : a print made by this technique
4 : the interplay of light and shadow on or as if on a surface a spotlight revealing a chiaroscuro of ridges and craters on a mountainside
5 : the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow
Recent Examples of chiaroscuro from the Web
Within the multi-level retail complex, the range of lighting goes from moody shadow to dramatic chiaroscuro and bright sunlight.
The author has a gift for creating chiaroscuro portraits, capturing both light and dark.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chiaroscuro.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of chiaroscuro
Italian, from chiaro clear, light + oscuro obscure, dark
First Known Use: 1686See Words from the same year
Learn More about chiaroscuro
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about chiaroscuro
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