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Chiaroscuro (English: /( ) / kee-AR-ə-SKOOR-oh, -SKURE-, Italian: [ˌkjaroˈskuːro]; Italian for 'light-dark'), in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures. Similar effects in cinema, and black and white and low-key photography, are also called chiaroscuro.
Further specialized uses of the term include chiaroscuro woodcut for coloured woodcuts printed with different blocks, each using a different coloured ink; and chiaroscuro drawing for drawings on coloured paper in a dark medium with white highlighting.
Chiaroscuro is one of the canonical painting modes of the Renaissance (alongside cangiante, sfumato and unione) (see also Renaissance art). Artists known for using the technique include Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, and Georges de La Tour.