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This artwork features the impasto painting method:
First, its raised surface causes light to be reflected in new ways that the artist can control. It was used frequently to mimic the broken-textured quality of highlights - that is, the surfaces of objects that are struck by an intense light.
Second, expressionists (notably Van Gogh) used impasto to convey feelings and emotion.
Third, impasto can convey a three dimensional impression. Baroque painters like Rembrandt, Hals and Velazquez used minutely and painstakingly worked impastos to depict lined or wrinkled skin, folds in robes, or the glint of jewellery. Lastly, the rough texture can draw attention to certain points or aspects of a composition.