Sfumato Definition

Leonardo da Vinci's "Virgin of the Rocks"  1505.
The National Gallery of London.
Sfumato is one of the four canonical painting modes of the Renaissance. The Italian word sfumato means to shade. In the finished painting the composition appears as though it has a thin veil of smoke that partially conceals the subject of the painting from the viewer. Thereby adding some areas of brightness to pure regions of darkness, and partially blocking some regions of light.
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