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In painting, impasto (from the Italian for dough) describes areas of the surface of a painting which are heavily built up with paint layers.

Impastoed paint is highly textured; brush or palette knife marks are usually clearly evident. The intention is to make the light falling across the painting reflect in a particularly noticeable way. Highlights, or perhaps jewels on a costume, may be heavily impastoed for this reason, as in some of the works of Rembrandt.

Later, artists such as Van Gogh employed the technique extensively for decorative and expressive purposes.