The religious painting “Ecce Homo” of Antonio Ciseri has a startling realism that comes in part from his sensitivity to light interactions.
Ciseri was born in Switzerland in 1821 and studied in at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence under Florence under Niccola Benvenuti.
Note the soft edges in the hand in shadow at (1). Crisp edges should be reserved for elements in full illumination. At (2), look at the warm reflected light on the arm of the figure in this grouping.
At (3), check out the contre-jour handling of Christ’s figure. The top and side planes of Christ’s figure are raised in value so that they almost blend with the sky—a device that James Bama used almost a century later on Bantam paperback covers.
Pilate’s draped figure is rendered with extreme attention to transmitted light through various layers of fabric. This might have been aided by photography (the painting is from 1880, when many artists were using photographs).
But I would bet he also did charcoal studies of the nude model first and that he also set up a draped lay figure in a doorway. I’ll talk about lay figures on a future post.
Wikipedia on Antonio Ciseri
Ciseri on Art Renewal
Previous GJ Posts on transmitted light, contre-jour lighting, and reflected light (croquet balls).