Share this entry

sfumato Syllabification: sfu·ma·to
Pronunciation: /sfo͞oˈmädō/

Definition of sfumato in English:


The technique of allowing tones and colors to shade gradually into one another, producing softened outlines or hazy forms.
Example sentences
  • The landscape is idealised from Leonardo's studies of nature, portrayed with techniques of sfumato and aerial perspective.
  • He creates rocky landscape backgrounds with misty atmospheric perspective, using sfumato and chiaroscuro to describe colour transitions.
  • The famous smile was achieved through the use of a tonal technique sfumato.


Mid 19th century: Italian, literally 'shaded off', past participle of sfumare.

Definition of sfumato in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person