sfumato

sfumato

[sfoo-mah-toh]
noun Fine Arts.
the subtle and minute gradation of tone and color used to blur or veil the contours of a form in painting.

Origin:
1840–50; < Italian, past participle of sfumare to gradate tone or color, equivalent to s- < Latin ex- ex-1 + fumare to smoke < Latin fumāre; see fume

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Sfumato
Collins
World English Dictionary
sfumato (sfuːˈmɑːtəʊ)
 
n
(in painting) a gradual transition between areas of different colour, avoiding sharp outlines
 
[from Italian, from sfumato shaded off, from sfumare to shade off, from Latin ex-1 + fūmāre to smoke]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

sfumato

(from Italian sfumare, "to tone down" or "to evaporate like smoke"), in painting or drawing, the fine shading that produces soft, imperceptible transitions between colours and tones. It is used most often in connection with the work of Leonardo da Vinci and his followers, who made subtle gradations, without lines or borders, from light to dark areas; the technique was used for a highly illusionistic rendering of facial features and for atmospheric effects. See also chiaroscuro.

Learn more about sfumato with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature