HumanitiesWeb.org - Glossary definition: Sfumato
Sfumato
(from the Italian for 'evaporated' or 'cleared like smoke' )

It describes a colour technique used by the artist so that the tones from light to dark, for instance, are changed so gradually that it becomes difficult to see where one starts and the other stops. Leonardo da Vinci used "sfumato" extensively and believed that it was crucial to painting. Unfortunately, through time, many of the works that Leonardo painted with this technique have faded so it is extremely difficult to detect. Leonardo said that the lighting and shading of colour should be able to be done without hard lines or borders, similarly to the way smoke evaporates.

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