from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. An object in the foreground of a painting, which leads the viewer's eye towards the principal figure, increasing the sense of depth.
There was no rain; there was only, all the afternoon, a mild, moist wind and a sky magnificently black; which made a repoussoir for the paler cliffs of the fountain.
In 1823, he paints it for Bishop Fisher – Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop's Grounds, a strange work, the church rendered flat and thin behind a repoussoir screen of trees and cows.
The eldest daughter acts as a dark repoussoir to concentrate our attention on the infant heir in white, and the younger daughter supports the brat in his bold full-frontal pose (Reynolds would have made him an infant Henry VIII).
This word is French in origin and in the 18th century referred to a medical instrument.