Chiaroscuro - jwardenphotography

The artistic technique called Chiaroscuro, was pioneered by Leonardo da Vinci and further developed by Caravaggio. It was Rembrandt though, who used the technique of contrasting light and dark to perfection. The word comes from the Italian, ‘chiaro’, meaning light and ‘scuro’, meaning dark. Using this technique, Rembrandt went on to produce some of the most visually stunning and thoughtfully evocative paintings in the history of art (Netto, 1999).

While da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rembrandt used this technique primarily in portraiture, chiaroscuro can used very effectively in nature photography as well.


Netto, J. A. (1999). Rembrandt and the Technique of Chiaroscuro. Retrieved from Writing and the World of Painting:

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Designs on the Sturgeon River

Walking along the Sturgeon River inr St. Albert, I saw the light on these reeds highlighted against the shadows of the far shore. The light said ‘here is something special’ and the arrangement of lines created a recognizable pattern, a design that was pleasing to my eye and comforting to my mind. Chiaroscuro, light against dark.

LightPatternsChiaroscuroSturgeon RiverAlbertaNatural DesignSaint Albert