Definition of tenebrism in English:



mass noun
  • A style of painting developed by Caravaggio and other 17th-century Spanish and Italian artists, characterized by predominantly dark tones and shadows with dramatically contrasting effects of light.

    • ‘Caravaggio's tenebrism was dangerous and subversive.’
    • ‘His stay in Italy, where he encountered Caravaggesque naturalism and tenebrism, was decisive for his art.’
    • ‘He stayed away from tenebrism, preferring a more even balance between line and light.’
    • ‘For him, tenebrism fit the general category of ‘furtive painting’, a style that was intended to conceal shortcomings by means of cloaking shadows.’
    • ‘Caravaggio revolutionized Baroque painting with a technique called tenebrism.’


From Italian tenebroso ‘dark’ + -ism.