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sfumato

[sfoo-mah-toh] /sfuˈmɑ toʊ/
noun, Fine Arts.
1.
the subtle and minute gradation of tone and color used to blur or veil the contours of a form in painting.
Origin
1840-1850
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
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sfumati

sfumato

/sfuːˈmɑːtəʊ/
noun
1.
(in painting) a gradual transition between areas of different colour, avoiding sharp outlines
Word Origin
from Italian, from sfumato shaded off, from sfumare to shade off, from Latin ex-1 + fūmāre to smoke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for sfumati

sfumato

adj.

1847, from Italian sfumato, literally "smoked," from Latin fumus "smoke" (see fume (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for sfumati

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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