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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Conte \Conte\, n.; pl. Contes. [F.] A short narrative or tale, esp. one dealing with surprising or marvelous events.

The conte (sic) is a tale something more than a sketch, it may be, and something less than a short story. . . . The ``Canterbury Tales'' are contes, most of them, if not all, and so are some of the ``Tales of a Wayside Inn.''
--Brander Matthews.


Conté, also known as Conté sticks or Conté crayons, are a drawing medium composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a wax or clay base, square in cross-section. They were invented in 1795 by Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who created the combination of clay and graphite in response to the shortage of graphite caused by the Napoleonic Wars (the British naval blockade of France prevented import). Conté crayons had the advantage of being cost-effective to produce, and easy to manufacture in controlled grades of hardness.

They are now manufactured using natural pigments ( iron oxides, carbon black, titanium dioxide), clay ( kaolin), and a binder ( cellulose ether).

Conté crayons are most commonly found in black, white, and sanguine tones, as well as bistre, shades of grey, and other colors. Currently in the USA, sets of 12 assorted portrait and landscape colors are available as well as a sketching set, plus sets of 18, 24 or 48 colors. In Europe, 22 more colors are available and the colors other than sanguine, bistre, grey, black, and white are available open stock.

Colors sets are especially useful for field studies and color studies. Some artists create entire paintings with them, using them more like pastels than like a drawing medium. They are also used often to sketch under pastel paintings or lay down initial layers before using dry pastels. The colors sets lean toward very bright spectrum hues that mix well; even the 12 assorted color set can be layered to produce any hues or values desired. Color Conté mixes better on paper than many hard pastel products.

They are frequently used on rough paper that holds pigment grains well. They can also be used on prepared primed canvases for underdrawing for a painting. The sticks' square profile make Conté crayons more suitable for detailed hatched work as opposed to the bolder painterly drawing style demanded by soft pastels.


Conte (in English, " count") is a title of Italian nobility used in Italy and other Catholic European countries. The female form is contessa. The equivalent French titles are comte and comtesse.

Conte may also refer to:

  • The drawing medium Conté, also known as Conté sticks or crayons
  • The toy soldier manufacturer Richard Conte
  • A town in France, Conte, Jura
  • The Conté royal family, a fictional family in Tamora Pierce's Tortallan world
  • Conte (surname)

Contessa may also refer to:

  • Hino Contessa, a 1960s car made by Hino Motors
  • Barefoot Contessa, a cooking show hosted by Ina Garten
  • The Barefoot Contessa, a 1954 film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner
  • Hindustan Contessa, an Indian car made by Hindustan Motors based on the Vauxhall Victor
  • The Contessa, a character on the PBS game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
  • The Contessa, a villain from the Sly Cooper video game franchise
  • Contessa Premium Foods
  • Contessa, a ship used by Volkoff Industries in the TV series Chuck
  • Contessa 26 first GRP yacht in a range of yachts built by Jeremy Rogers Ltd. and J. J. Taylor & Sons Ltd. of Toronto; 26ft length
  • Contessa 32 32 ft length design in a range of GRP yachts built by Jeremy Rogers Ltd.
Conté (disambiguation)

Conté can refer to:

  • Lansana Conté (1934 – 2008), President of Guinea
  • Nicolas-Jacques Conté, known for
    • Conté crayons
Conte (surname)

Conte is an Italian surname. Notable people with the surname include:

  • Antonio Conte (born 1969), Italian football manager and former player
  • Gian Biagio Conte (born 1941), Italian classicist
  • Hugo Conte (born 1963), Argentine volleyball player
  • Lansana Conté (1934–2008), former President of Guinea
  • Maria Pia Conte (born 1944), Italian actress
  • Nicola Conte, Italian DJ and producer
  • Paolo Conte (born 1937), Italian singer and composer
  • Richard Conte (1910–1975), United States actor
  • Richard Conte (contemporary artist) (born 1953), French contemporary artist
  • Silvio O. Conte (1921–1991), United States congressman
  • Steve Conte, American songwriter and guitarist
  • Victor Conte, nutritionist at the center of the BALCO steroids scandal

Usage examples of "conte".

He wanted Conte to go to Paul Castellano and get permission to have Sammy killed.

Pere Veret, the confessor of the nuns, Mathurin Rousseau, and Nicolas Benoit, canons, and Conte, a doctor, from whom they learned that Grandier had not been an instant out of their sight for the last two hours.

That kingdom is become of late a meatgrinder of armies, and not even the Holy See has enough money to hire me and mine to follow in the footsteps of old Conte Hreszko.

I turned right onto Hilgard, right again on Le Conte, and right onto Tiverton, where I paid for a parking voucher.

I pulled out of the lot onto Tiverton, and when I reached Le Conte I turned left.

You can bid them cut off the last vestiges of power that their contes and doges may have, even expel those noblemen completely-after all, their guilds and merchants' councils really rule their cities already.

The Tsigane version of Sara and the saints is from Claude Clément's wonderful children's book Contes Traditionelles de Provence, and represents either the iconoclastic extreme or the earliest, least-changed myth.

It flew accurately, needle point forward, and struck Conte Cozonac in the neck, two inches below an ear.

Then, carrying huge Conte Cozonac, he mounted flights of stairs to the roof, unbarred the hatch and clambered out.

The cord was extremely strong, and Doc, still carrying Conte Cozonac, slipped down it to the sidewalk.

Conte Cozonac was planted in a chair, his wrists positioned carefully on the arm rests.

Conte Cozonac chuckled, "and he does not have to be a native of the country, either.

Monk and Ham, their perpetual quarrel for the moment a minor matter, watched Conte Cozonac intently.

Conte Cozonac hesitated, then continued: "My other purpose was to have Baron Damitru Mendl draw up a new set of plans and make a working model of the devilish weapon which he invented.

They had been shut in long enough that any type of diversion, even observing disguised Conte Cozonac, was welcome.