Definition of impasto in English:



mass nounArt
  • 1The process or technique of laying on paint or pigment thickly so that it stands out from a surface.

    • ‘The heavy impasto of the grove obscures the legibility of trunks and ground.’
    • ‘The landscape background of Elizabeth's portrait in particular is remarkably abstract, using strong colour and thick impasto.’
    • ‘His work at this time was vaguely Surrealist, with forms resembling primitive hieroglyphs painted in a heavy impasto.’
    • ‘Characteristically he painted in thick impasto, mainly with a palette knife and generally in subdued ochre and umber tones.’
    • ‘In each, he runs a dazzling gamut of painterly techniques: glazing, impasto, scumbling, decalcomania, fluid linear strokes and so on.’
    1. 1.1 Paint applied thickly.
      • ‘The common element is colour: he uses layer upon layer of his impasto (oil, gesso and pigment) to create the finished result.’
      • ‘As light strikes the painting at an angle, ridges of impasto reveal moments in the history of its making without disclosing what was buried in the process.’
      • ‘Some portraits were painted with brushes first, and then a hard tool was used to blend the skin tones and add texture to the thick wax impasto.’
      • ‘He highlights a silver fish-server with stipples of white impasto.’
      • ‘These immensely appealing paintings feature vivid colors, slathered impasto and homespun comedy.’


Late 18th century: from Italian, from impastare, from im- ‘upon’ + pasta ‘a paste’, from late Latin.