Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (kē-är′ə-sko͝or′ō, -skyo͝or′ō)
n. pl. chi·a·ro·scu·ros
1. The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation.
2. The arrangement of light and dark elements in a pictorial work of art.
a. A woodcut technique in which several blocks are used to print different shades of a color.
b. A woodcut print made by this technique. In all senses also called claire-obscure.

[Italian : chiaro, bright, light (from Latin clārus, clear; see kelə- in Indo-European roots) + oscuro, dark (from Latin obscūrus; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots).]

chi·a′ro·scu′rist n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ros
1. (Art Terms) the artistic distribution of light and dark masses in a picture
2. (Art Terms) monochrome painting using light and dark only, as in grisaille
[C17: from Italian, from chiaro clear + oscuro obscure]
chiˌaroˈscurism n
chiˌaroˈscurist n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(kiˌɑr əˈskyʊər oʊ, -ˈskʊər oʊ)

n., pl. -ros.
1. the distribution of light and shade in a picture.
2. the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade, esp. to enhance the delineation of character and for general dramatic effect.
3. a woodcut print in which the colors are produced by the use of different blocks with different colors.
[1680–90; < Italian, =chiaro bright (< Latin clārus) + oscuro dark (< Latin obscūrus). See clear, obscure]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

chiaroscuro, chiarooscuro

a technique of painting or drawing using light and shade to achieve a three-dimensional quality. — chiaroscurist, n.
See also: Drawing
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(Italian, “light-dark”) (1) The rendering of light and shade in a painting. (2) The subtle gradations and marked variations of light and shade for dramatic effect. (3) A woodcut print produced from two blocks.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.chiaroscuro - a monochrome picture made by using several different shades of the same color
grisaille - chiaroscuro painting or stained glass etc., in shades of grey imitating the effect of relief
ikon, picture, icon, image - a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface; "they showed us the pictures of their wedding"; "a movie is a series of images projected so rapidly that the eye integrates them"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[kɪˌɑːrəsˈkʊərəʊ] Nclaroscuro m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[kiˌærəˈskʊərəʊ] nclair-obscur m
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nChiaroscuro nt, → Helldunkel nt
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in classic literature ?
Followed as he followed it, with a skilful reticence, in a kind of social chiaroscuro, it was still possible for the polite to call him a professional painter.
Joe and Delia met in an atelier where a number of art and music students had gathered to discuss chiaroscuro, Wagner, music, Rembrandt's works, pictures, Waldteufel, wall paper, Chopin and Oolong.
Wakem had not other sons beside Philip; but toward them he held only a chiaroscuro parentage, and provided for them in a grade of life duly beneath his own.
The Chavises present opportunities for others to change their views, and chiaroscuro -- an art term for the light/dark juxtaposition that Ricky and Noel discuss -- becomes a theme in character interactions.
You teach her, don't you?' Under the chiaroscuro of the swinging string of lights, Mr Quantz's shadow was tossed around over the strewn table.
Caravaggio was a great proponent of chiaroscuro painting where the light source picks up details contrasted against a dark background.
The different genres under which he studied objects for purpose lost are mainly the interplay of different mediums, treatments, chiaroscuro and process.
Pablo (violin) is originally from Madrid and is a member of the prestigious Chiaroscuro Quartet.
Chiaroscuro (Italian for light-dark) is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.
Composed of 16 highly textured canvases extolling the transcendent qualities of every man immersed in the human condition, the collection is tied together by silver and black, which provide the dramatic chiaroscuro against which a palette of translucent pastels, metallic hues and monochromes flow into, and evoke complex moods midway conflict and triumph.
Illustrator Christopher Cyr's digital art plays with chiaroscuro to make this tale deliriously ominous.
In workaday free verse, she allows the frightening chiaroscuro watercolor paintings to come to the forefront.