Definition of sfumato in English:

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Pronunciation: /sfʊˈmɑːtəʊ/


[mass noun] Art
The technique of allowing tones and colours 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.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: sfu|mato

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