from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation.
  • n. The arrangement of light and dark elements in a pictorial work of art.
  • n. A woodcut technique in which several blocks are used to print different shades of a color.
  • n. A woodcut print made by this technique.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An artistic technique developed during the Renaissance, referring to the use of exaggerated light contrasts in order to create the illusion of volume.
  • n. A monochrome picture made by using several different shades of the same color.
  • n. The use of blocks of wood of different colors in a woodcut.
  • n. A photographic technique in which one side of a face (for example) is well lit and the other is in shadow.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The arrangement of light and dark parts in a work of art, such as a drawing or painting, whether in monochrome or in color.
  • n. The art or practice of so arranging the light and dark parts as to produce a harmonious effect. Cf. clair-obscur.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Light and shade; specifically, the general distribution of light and shade in a picture, whether painted, drawn, or engraved— that is, the combined effect of all its lights, shadows, and reflections. Strictly speaking, however, every object on which light strikes has its own chiaroscuro.
  • n. A drawing in black and white.
  • n. A method of printing engravings from several blocks representing lighter and darker shades, used especially in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; also, an engraving so printed.
  • Of or pertaining to light and shade in painting, drawing, or engraving.
  • Also clair-obscure, clare-obscure.
  • n. A style of painting on enameled pottery practised by the Italian potters.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a monochrome picture made by using several different shades of the same color


Italian : chiaro, bright, light (from Latin clārus, clear; see kelə-2 in Indo-European roots) + oscuro, dark (from Latin obscūrus; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Italian, from chiaro ("light") + oscuro ("dark") (Wiktionary)



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