Tenebrism, from the Italian tenebroso (murky), also called dramatic illumination, is a style of painting using very pronounced chiaroscuro, where there are violent contrasts of light and dark and darkness becomes a dominating feature of the image. Caravaggio, a Baroque artist, is generally credited with the invention of the style, although this technique was used much earlier by various artists, such as Albrecht Dürer.
Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female artists of the Baroque and a follower of Caravaggio, was also an outstanding exponent of tenebrism.
The term is usually applied to artists from the seventeenth century onwards, although Tintoretto and El Greco are sometimes described as Tenebrists. El Greco painted three versions of a composition with a boy, a man and a monkey grouped in darkness around a single flame. Among the most well-known Tenebrist artists are: Italian and Dutch followers (the Utrecht School) of Caravaggio, Francisco Ribalta, Jusepe de Ribera and their Spanish followers. Tenebrism is most often applied to 17th-century Spanish painters. It is sometimes applied to other 17th century painters including Georges de La Tour, who painted many images lit by a single candle, Gerrit van Honthorst, and Rembrandt.
The term is not often used of Adam Elsheimer, although he was an important innovator in painting night-scenes with a few lighted areas. His dark areas are always full of detail and interest.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tenebrism.|
- More details (below introduction)
- Art Lexicon
- Jusepe de Ribera, 1591-1652, a full text exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which includes material on Ribera and Tenebrism
|This painting-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|