Chiaroscuro is an Italian term which translates as light-dark, and refers to the balance and pattern of light and shade in a painting or drawing

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  • Joseph Wright of Derby, 'An Iron Forge' 1772
    Joseph Wright of Derby
    An Iron Forge 1772
    Oil on canvas
    support: 1213 x 1320 mm
    frame: 1458 x 1570 x 123 mm
    Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1992
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Dunstanburgh Castle from the South; Chiaroscuro Study' circa 1797-8
    Joseph Mallord William Turner
    Dunstanburgh Castle from the South; Chiaroscuro Study circa 1797-8
    Pencil, brush and ink, watercolour and gouache on paper
    support: 261 x 337 mm
    Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
  • Vilhelm Hammershoi, 'Interior, Sunlight on the Floor' 1906
    Vilhelm Hammershoi
    Interior, Sunlight on the Floor 1906
    Oil on canvas
    support: 518 x 440 x 23 mm
    frame: 628 x 546 x 78 mm
    Purchased 1930

Chiaroscuro is generally only remarked upon when it is a particularly prominent feature of the work, usually when the artist is using extreme contrasts of light and shade.