Thursday, April 13, 2017

Chiaroscuro

White Knight
24" x 36"  oil on canvas

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” “There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”

Chiaroscuro is Italian and roughly translated, means light and dark. It originally described a type of drawing on medium-dark paper where the artist created both darker areas with ink and lighter areas with white paint.  Very similar to drawing on the toned papers that are available today.

Supper at Emmaus - 1601
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Caravaggio, with his intense dark backgrounds in paintings in the 16th century really brought chiaroscuro to a new height with an almost spotlight effect on his figures.  Chiaroscuro adds drama to a painting with focal points being flooded with a light source and the edges of objects melting into the same value as the background, making you look closely to define one from the other.

You can see just how large this painting "Supper at Emmaus" is, with its almost lifesized figures  and see more of his work, style and life in the video below from the National Gallery where the painting is housed.  The video is 30 minutes long but well worth your time if you're interested in the master artists.


2 comments:

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I will have to watch that when I have more time, love Caravaggio's work and want to see his stuff in person one day *crosses fingers*

Jeanette Jobson said...

Peeks into the lives of artists from the past show many similarities with modern day art life. And some surprises.