Night Watch (1642), by Rembrandt van Rijn.


(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
by spotlights.

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).