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

  • n. A style of monochromatic painting in shades of gray, used especially for the representation of relief sculpture.
  • n. A painting or design in this style.
  • n. Vitrifiable glass paint.
  • n. A lacy pattern painted on light glass with vitrifiable paint and fired.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In painting, a method of working which employs only varying values of gray to create form. Often a preliminary step in a fully colored painting.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Decorative painting in gray monochrome; -- used in English especially for painted glass.
  • n. A kind of French fancy dress goods.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A system of painting in gray tints of various shades, produced by mixing white with black, used either simply for decoration, or to represent objects, etc., as if in relief; also, a painting, a stained-glass window, etc., executed according to this method. See camaieu.
  • n. A fancy fabric with a cotton warp and a wool weft for women's wear.

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

  • n. chiaroscuro painting or stained glass etc., in shades of grey imitating the effect of relief


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

French, from gris, gray, from Old French, from Frankish *grīs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French grisaille


  • He had noticed that wide double doors, painted in the pale brownish grey called grisaille, formed the further side of the tiny apartment.

    The End of Her Honeymoon

  • The thickening branches make a pink 'grisaille' against the blue sky.

    Men, Women and Ghosts

  • "grisaille," painted by Uccello, in the fifteenth century, in memory of

    A Literary History of the English People From the Origins to the Renaissance

  • A dramatic chandelier of 18th-century lead crystal hangs from a fraying hemp rope, while a modern tripod floor lamp illuminates an antique grisaille wallpaper panel by Zuber.

    Rooms With a Viewpoint

  • When Braque, working from the landscape in 1908, develops a range of whites, blacks, grays, greens and browns in his Cubist paintings, he isn't limiting his palette but inventing a new language inspired equally by Parisian light, modern scientific investigation and Renaissance grisaille.

    A Modern Movement Unto Himself

  • The outlines are traced and during the Renaissance, the canvas was painted with a burnt umber ground and an image made using a cloth or a brush to pull out highlights and make a high contrast underpainting called a grisaille.

    Leanne Goebel: Isca Greenfield-Sanders & Marc Brandenburg in Denver

  • February may be the shortest month but rather than see the City of Light doused in grisaille grayness, Parisians go skiing or in search of winter sun—preferably in a corner of the former French empire where there's no danger of English being the lingua franca or steaks being served well-done.

    Pruning the Cost of Luxury on the Riviera

  • Copenhagen-Humlebaek Art "Louisiana on Paper: Vija Celmins" presents a selection of sketches by the Latvian artist known for capturing the realism of black-and-white photography in her grisaille technique.

    What's On Around Europe

  • One of his style secret weapons: old-world decorating tropes grisaille murals, floor-to-ceiling drapery made liveable.

    Rhapsody In Blue and Gold

  • Galleries readers may remember the love letter I penned to James Rieck back in August, when I saw his wry paintings done in monochromatic grisaille, including one rather sexy portrait of a Weber grill, in a Gallery Four group exhibition in Baltimore.

    James Rieck and Jonathan Monaghan at Hamiltonian Gallery


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  • ...his mind was elsewhere, and he did not shine in the discussion which forever remained in his mind as a grisaille of inconclusive tedium.

    - Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor

    June 4, 2008