(Italian claro, ‘light,’ and obscuro, ‘dark’)
Chiaroscuro is the technique of juxtaposing bright and dark areas in a painting
to create drama, tension, and three-dimensional effects.
Paintings in the chiaroscuro style generally have dark, nearly
black backgrounds, while the main subjects shine as if illuminated
Night Watch (1642), by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69),
is frequently cited as a prime example of the chiaroscuro technique.
It looks as if a police car is shining its headlights on a
group of suspects (albeit rich Dutch merchant suspects).