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sfumato

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Public Domain image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452-1519). Mona Lisa (La Gioconda), ca. 1503-05. Oil on poplar wood. 77 x 53 cm (30 3/8 x 20 7/8 in.).

Musée du Louvre, Paris
Definition:

(noun) - A word, from the Latin (via Italian) fumare ("to smoke"), used to denote a painting technique. Sfumato means that there are no harsh outlines present (as in a coloring book). Areas blend into one another through miniscule brushstrokes, which makes for a rather hazy, albeit more realistic, depiction of light and color. An early, wonderful example of sfumato can be seen in Leonardo's Mona Lisa.

Pronunciation: sfoo·mah·toe
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