Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The application of thick layers of pigment to a canvas or other surface in painting.
  • n. The paint so applied.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. In painting, the use of a thick-bodied paint to create sizable peaks and crests in an image.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The thickness of the layer or body of pigment applied by the painter to his canvas with especial reference to the juxtaposition of different colors and tints in forming a harmonious whole.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In painting, the thick laying on of pigments. Compare impaste, 2.
  • n. In ceramics, enamel colors or slip laid so thickly on the ware, in decoration, as to stand out from its surface in relief.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. painting that applies the pigment thickly so that brush or palette knife marks are visible

Etymologies

Italian, from impastare, to make into a paste : in-, in (from Latin; see in-2) + pasta, paste (from Late Latin; see paste1).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • In this painting as in most of my oil paintings, I used bold colors and brushstrokes of thick paint called impasto, to create a textural rhythm in order to introduce a more intense feeling in the work.

    Monirith Chhea: Images of Cambodia

  • He will learn the secret of that transparency, of that sumptuous richness of impasto, which is in itself a delight to the eye.

    Goupil's Paris Salon of 1897

  • Seeing him eye a Picasso, Rockefeller took the man's hand and placed it on the impasto.

    Swimming with Cézanne

  • He painted it in deep impasto—where paint is laid on thickly—and did so repeatedly.

    Painter's 'Naked Portraits' Depicted Friends, Relatives

  • I'm showing resin and wax pieces, which are impasto paintings with a gloss of thick resin in between the brush strokes.

    Yasmine Mohseni: Beyond the White Cube: Stephanie Dotson on Drugs, Rugs and Painting Cats

  • The heavy impasto is an intriguing contrast to the skeletal figures she paints.

    Tracey Harnish: Courtney Reid at Bleicher Gallery La Brea

  • Contributions of urban imagery by the likes of George Shaw and Cornelia Parker bring the story up to date, but it's the old hands who make magic out of the mundane, with Frank Auerbach's Euston Steps a coagulated mass of painterly impasto and the local all-time master LS Lowry represented by a gem of a painting, depicting a park surrounded like a cultural oasis by the looming chimneys of factories.

    This week's new exhibitions

  • He avoids the gestural brushstroke, impasto—anything, indeed, that might draw attention to the fact that these pictures are paintings.

    A Panorama of Purpose

  • In its antihumanism and in its thick impasto, with slices and diagonal blades of dark color making sharp edges à la Clyfford Still, this picture looks forward as well as backward.

    Return to the Grim and Dark

  • Visual conundrums are built up with painstaking precision by Alice and Joe Woodhouse, and the tendency towards a systematic thoroughness of approach is taken one step further, as Jane Millican makes super-realist drawings from every impasto gesture of abstract paintings.

    This week's new exhibitions

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