• The piece is given an overall tone of reticence
Works of art that express a shy/uncertain tone might depict characters that are awkwardly withdrawn… hesitant to engage with other characters or the viewer. Stylistic elements such as muted colors, low contrast in the values, and a washed out look with minimal indication of form might add to a tone of shy uncertainty.
An artist might impart a shy/uncertain tone to a piece due to his or her own emotional state, or the artist might choose to evoke this tone as a reflection of the characters being portrayed. A shy/uncertain tone might also be adopted to suit a piece meant for a setting or purpose that demands an expression of reticence.
Featured above: Portrait of a Woman
by Barthel Bruyn the Elder.