Definition of sgraffito in English:

sgraffito

noun

  • A form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls, or in slip on ceramics before firing.

    • ‘Here the last vestiges of the figurative, a few delicately poised hands, flowers and shells, are subsumed into patterned and highly coloured surfaces of glazes, scumbles, impasto, sgraffito, stipples, dots and splodges of paint.’
    • ‘Façades were further decorated with virtuoso sgraffiti, the top layer of plaster etched away to reveal a contrasting colour beneath.’
    • ‘It occupies the entire 6-foot-high composition, with ink spatters, sgraffito and handprints enlivening the surface.’
    • ‘In tempera painting the most spectacular technique to combine gilding and paint is that of sgraffito, most often used to depict cloth of gold.’
    • ‘He, too, has worked very large and with heroic, mythic narratives, but once again, seems to take an ironical stance toward monumentality by his use of magnified sgraffito and scrawled imagery.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: Italian, literally ‘scratched away’, past participle of sgraffiare.

Pronunciation

sgraffito

/zɡräˈfētō/