Definition of pentimento in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌpen(t)əˈmen(t)ō/

noun (plural pentimenti /-ˈmentē/)

A visible trace of earlier painting beneath a layer or layers of paint on a canvas.
Example sentences
  • The rapid delineation of muscles and sinews, the visible pentimenti and the variable thickness of the chalk lines indicate a purposeful exploration of the physical possibilities of the medium in accurately depicting the human body.
  • In fact, drawing is prominent in the paintings, whether jerkily outlining colored patches or visible as the pentimenti of earlier, barely erased marks.
  • She does not follow the design by rote, as revealed by the pentimenti of alterations made during the painting process.


Early 20th century: from Italian, literally 'repentance'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pen·ti·men·to

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