Definition of chiaroscuro in English:


Line breaks: chiaro|scuro
Pronunciation: /kɪˌɑːrəˈskʊərəʊ


[mass noun]
  • 1The treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.
    More example sentences
    • The brusque application of plaster disrupts the logic of the painting's chiaroscuro.
    • Each vignette, usually showing one or two figures, is a little anthology of effects, combining contour drawing, crosshatching, chiaroscuro, graphic boldness and delicate detailing.
    • Then he saw the light - in the form of Caravaggio's dramatic chiaroscuro - and became one of that master's most resourceful followers.
  • 1.1An effect of contrasted light and shadow: the chiaroscuro of cobbled streets
    More example sentences
    • Inhabiting these buildings are the depth, the reflections, the veils, the chiaroscuros, and an attenuated clarity that are created by the shade.
    • The column screens and niches around the room create a mysterious and alluring chiaroscuro effect.
    • I also distrust the general air onstage of High Significance, which owes far too much to the handsome chiaroscuro of the lighting and the future-chic costumes.


mid 17th century: from Italian, from chiaro 'clear, bright' (from Latin clarus) + oscuro 'dark, obscure' (from Latin obscurus).

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