Sebastian Metzgar - Intense Lighting

Intense Lighting is a very interesting type of composition in an art piece that utilizes, usually, one bright light to create strong contrasts between the subject and background.  This technique also can be known as chiaroscuro, depicting strong light right next to a defined shadow.  This helps emphasize where the observer should be looking and allows for one to imagine what the surrounding room or background looks like, as it won't be the focus of the piece, but rather the figures will be the focal point.

Pilate Washing His Hands, LEONARD BRAMER, ca. 1640, From the collection of: Muzeul Național Brukenthal
The painting depicts a Pilate in the process of washing his hands with others. The light is fairly soft, but it creates a strong focus in the center of the piece.
Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, 1663 - 1665, From the collection of: The State Hermitage Museum
The image shows an older man comforting his supposed son, surrounded by a few figures. There is a strong light source coming from the front and left side of the image creating a good contrast between the subject on the left and the rest of the composition.
Sir Henry Taylor (a Rembrandt), Julia Margaret Cameron, 1866, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
The subject matter is of an older man with a beard. The intense light is coming in from the left, creating distinct shadows across the right side of the image. This emphasizes his face and beard.
Daniel and Cyrus before the Idol Bel, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 - 1669), 1633, From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
The subject is of a man pointing a stick at a table authoritatively. The light showcases the craftsmanship and detail in the figure while toning down values in the background.
Portrait of Edward Hicks, Thomas Hicks, ca. 1850 - 1852, From the collection of: James A. Michener Art Museum
This painting is just a simple portrait of Edward Hicks. The light is used to create a focal point on his face with a strong contrast with the background around his head.
The Mennonite Preacher Anslo and his Wife, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1641, From the collection of: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
A preacher and his wife are sitting conversing about a book. The focus is on the book, as there is high contrast between the intense light on it from the candle and the background.
Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, around 1656, From the collection of: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
A portrait of a woman. The light hitting the front of her body contrasts sharply with the very dark background. This puts the focus on her face and chest, as that's where it is the brightest.
Simson threatened his father-in-law, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1635, From the collection of: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
A man conversing with his father-in-law. The light coming from the left is very strong and creates dark shadows in the lower areas of the painting. The men are very clear while the background is not
Mistress and Maid, Johannes Vermeer, 1666/1667, From the collection of: The Frick Collection
A mistress and a maid are talking in a room. It is very clear to see the high contrast in this image with the dark background and bright figures from a strong light source.
Madonna of the Rosary, Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio, 1605/1607, From the collection of: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien
The scene is composed of a plethora of people. The light source is very broad but intense, creating high contrast in the negative space around the figures with the brightest spot being at the top.
Credits: All media
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