Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bleaching and Glare

When sunlight is extremely bright, the eye is dazzled for a moment. It takes a few seconds for the pupils to constrict. The cones are overwhelmed. Color response drops off in the brightly lit areas, and the shadows appear higher in chroma. This is the reverse of the normal rule of “color obtains in the light.”

Before Impressionism there was a movement called “The Glare Aesthetic” where artists used this bleaching phenomenon to convey bright light.
GJ post: "Color Obtains in the Light," link.
Top painting is by William Paxton (1869-1941) called the Chinese Parasol (1908), link.
Bottom painting by William Picknell (1853-1897), Road to Concarneau, link.
Chapter on the glare aesthetic in American Impressionism by William Gerdts, link.