Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.
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Postby KatyBr » Fri Jul 08, 2005 1:02 am

We sat out in the shadows behind our house staring into the woods just fifty feet beyond our fence. I raised my binoculars to my eyes as a shadow scurried into my field of vision. The overhanging trees clothed the ground in darkness but a small amount of light penetrated the murk behind the forest where the angry sultry sun was sinking. Just as the deer appeared as though materialized I noticed a patch of leaves painted a chiaroscuro black-bordered yellow-green. Tomorrow the undergrowth will obliterate the painting I was given and only the tenebrific will reign.


chi·a·ro·scu·ro (kē-är'ə-skʊr'ō, -skyʊr'ō)
n., pl. -ros. In all senses also called claire-obscure.
The technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation.
The arrangement of light and dark elements in a pictorial work of art.

A woodcut technique in which several blocks are used to print different shades of a color.
A woodcut print made by this technique.
[Italian : chiaro, bright, light (from Latin clārus, clear) + oscuro, dark (from Latin obscūrus).]

chi·a'ro·scu'rist n.

chiaroscuro (kyärōskū'rō) [Ital.,=light and dark], term once applied to an early method of printing woodcuts from several blocks and also to works in black and white or monotone. Today it is used loosely to refer to the distribution of light and dark in painting.


the quality of being veiled or partly in shadow


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Postby Slava » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:02 pm

Excellent word. Especially useful if you wish to discuss the play of light and dark and sound at least somewhat erudite. While the quotes above mention only painting, I suspect chiaroscuro plays quite a big role in B&W movies.
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Re: chiaroscuro

Postby sardith » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:40 am

If the word, 'chiaroscuro', has not yet been done up by the good Dr. Goodword, I would like to add my hearty, "Yes, please," to the stack, and will wait as patiently as I can for your reply. :wink:

Sardith :mrgreen:
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
~Mark Twain, [pen name for Samuel Clemens], American author and humorist, (1835-1910)~

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Re: chiaroscuro

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:50 pm

I second Sardith's nomination of chiaroscuro as a Good Word.

Van Gogh painted "The Sower" several times. I think the presence of a dark, leafless tree in some of his versions is an example of chiaroscuro. I once heard a homily on "The Sower" while worshiping at Canterbury Cathedral. Van Gogh's paintings of The Sower were projected on a screen as the preacher spoke. It was very impressive. The speaker pronounced Van Gogh as "Van Goff". I caught on quickly that he was talking about the artist we Americans call "Van Goh". In the Netherlands they say his name something like “fun Khokh”. I delight in the variations of pronunciations of "foreign words" between England and The USA. I greatly admire Van Gogh's paintings.

John Constable, perhaps my favorite painter, made masterful use of lighting contrasts. I don't think they would be called chiaroscuro. I can't find a word that defines his painting style. I think this has been discussed on the Agora before.
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