Tenebrism - A definition

The Flagellation of Christ by Caravaggio
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Tenebrism is a term, particularly related to European painting, used to describe the extreme contrasts between light and dark in a figurative composition as a means of heightening the dramatic effect of a painting. The most important tenebrist artist in the History of Art is Caravaggio who placed his figures against intense dark backgrounds, to increase the drama and movement within the painting, but to also enhance the three-dimensionality of the painting. All of which was achieved through a technique known as chiaroscuro; one of the four canonical modes of Renaissance art.
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