The first time I’ve heard the word chiaroscuro was when I was first properly introduced to Leonardo da Vinci’s work. According to the Oxford dictionary it means “the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting”.  Artist started to intentionally use it during the renaissance and the most well-known masters of it were da Vinci, Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Georges de la Tour.

The New-born, Georges de la Tour

I’ve always liked the way these artists played around with light and shadow in ther paintings. In many cases la Tour only uses a single candle to light up the dark room to get dramatic effects.

File:The Nightwatch by Rembrandt.jpg

The Night Watch, Rembrandt

It can also be used to lead the viewers eye. On the painting above Rembrandt uses it to focus on the main characters of the scene.

I’ve tried to look for modern art pieces for this theme, but could only find a few pieces. My favourite was a painting by Yasha Puzankov.

Chiaroscuro, Yasha Puzankov

Here’s a link to his artstation portfolio:


  • LA TOUR, Georges de. (1645-48). The New-Born. [Oil on canvas]. Rennes: Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Stevenson, A. and Dictionaries, O. (2010) Oxford dictionary of English. 3rd edn. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • VAN RJIN, Rembrandt. (1642). The Night Watch. [Oil on canvas]. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum.
  • Yasha Puzankov (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 7 February 2017).

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