gri·​saille | \ gri-ˈzī How to pronounce grisaille (audio) , -ˈzāl How to pronounce grisaille (audio) \

Definition of grisaille

: decoration in tones of a single color and especially gray designed to produce a three-dimensional effect

Examples of grisaille in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The technique was popular during the 1880s, and grisaille paintings were often featured in illustrated editions of the author’s works. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian Magazine, "You Can Now Download Images of 100,000 Artworks From Prominent Paris Museums’ Collections," 14 Jan. 2020 The tonality is gray, or grisaille, because this is the underpainting, in the old-master technique, that Elizabeth learned at art school. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, "Painter Elizabeth Colomba Is Giving Art’s Hidden Figures Their Close-Up," 10 Oct. 2018 In 1921, Elizabeth Keith, a Scotswoman who was one of the very rare westerners to visit Japanese-occupied Korea, made a woodblock print of the gorge, whose rich greens and blues sharply contrast with the Korean grisailles. Jason Farago, New York Times, "Review: When a Landscape (and Memory) Is All You Have," 8 Feb. 2018 Sherald uses grisaille — a method of painting in gray monochrome — for her subjects’ skin. Dushko Petrovich, New York Times, "The New Face of Portrait Painting," 12 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grisaille.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grisaille

1848, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grisaille

French, from gris gray, from Middle French — more at grizzle

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Time Traveler for grisaille

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The first known use of grisaille was in 1848

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Cite this Entry

“Grisaille.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grisaille Encyclopedia article about grisaille

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