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: http://www.nettonet.org/Nettonet/101%20Painting/Studies/Chiroscuro.htm