Tuesday, December 8, 2009



 chiaroscuro - (pr. kee-ahr'oh-schoo"roh)

A word borrowed from Italian ("light and shade" or "dark") referring to the modelling of volume by depicting light and shade by contrasting them boldly. This is one means of strengthening an illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface, and was an important topic among artists of the Renaissance. It is also a word which is synonymous with the work of Caravaggio.

Still Life with Fruit.
 A painting by the Italian  master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) in which the technique of Chiaroscuro is quite obvious. It depicts a wicker basket heaped with various fruit and vegetables sitting on a stone table, caught in Caravaggio's usual strong yet mellow shaft of light falling from the top left. The bulk of the space is taken up by the large melons, marrows and pumpkins, the watermelon and pumpkin cut open to display the interior, the marrows, long and twisting, seeming to wish to escape the two-dimensional space of the picture plane.