Tenebrism The practice and technique of painting in the dark and low key. The figures in such painting are engulfed by shadow. yet the scene is frequently relieved and partially illuminated by a dramatic beam of light. Tenebrism is derived from the Italian word Tenebroso, meaning ‘dark’ or ‘gloomy’. In fact it was coined by later critics of the works of Michelangelo Marisi da Caravaggio (1573-1610) plus many of his followers in the 17th century. The list of tenebristic artists include the names of: Georges de La Tour (1593-1652), Jusepe de Ribera (1588-1652), and Francisco Zubarán (1598-1664).