noun, plural chi·a·ro·scu·ros.
- the distribution of light and shade in a picture.
- Painting. the use of deep variations in and subtle gradations of light and shade, especially to enhance the delineation of character and for general dramatic effect: Rembrandt is a master of chiaroscuro.
- a woodcut print in which the colors are produced by the use of different blocks with different colors.
- a sketch in light and shade.
noun plural -ros
- the artistic distribution of light and dark masses in a picture
- monochrome painting using light and dark only, as in grisaille
1680s, “disposition of light and dark in a picture,” literally “bright-dark,” from Italian chiaro “clear, bright” (from Latin clarus; see clear (adj.)) + oscuro (from Latin obscurus; see obscure (adj.)). Related: Chiaroscurist.