light - Electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength in the range from about 4,000 (violet) to about 7,000 (red) angstroms and may be seen by the normal unaided human eye. It may refer to other wavelengths somewhat longer and shorter, such as those of ultraviolet (UV) and infrared. Also, either the sensation of light, a source of light, its illumination, the representation of it in a work of art, or an awareness as if there were light on a subject.

Light has been important to visual artists for obvious reasons, and has frequently become either the subject or the material of artists' works.

Some examples:


"Caravaggio", Michelangelo Merisi (Italian, 1571/73-1610), The Crucifixion of St. Andrew, 1607, oil on canvas, 202.5 x 152.7 cm, Cleveland Museum of Art. See tenebrism.



"Caravaggio," Michelangelo Merisi, David Victorious over Goliath, oil on canvas, (110 x 91 cm), Prado Museum, Madrid.




see thumbnail to leftRembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669), Self-Portrait, 1658, oil on canvas, 52 5/8 x 40 7/8 inches (133.7 x 103.8 cm), Frick Collection, NY.




see thumbnail to rightJoseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775-1851), Cologne: The Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening, 1826, oil and possibly watercolor on canvas, 66 3/8 x 88 1/4 inches (168.6 x 224.1 cm), Frick Collection, NY.




see thumbnail to leftJoseph Mallord William Turner, The Harbor of Dieppe, 1826?, oil on canvas, 68 3/8 x 88 3/4 inches (173.7 x 225.4 cm), Frick Collection, NY.




see thumbnail to rightJean-François Millet (French, 1814-1875), Woman Sewing by Lamplight, 1870-1872, oil on canvas (lined), 39 5/8 in. x 32 1/4 in. (100.65 cm x 81.92 cm), Frick Collection, NY. See Realism.




see thumbnail to leftDan Flavin (American, 1933-1996), 'Monument' for V. Tatlin, 1966-9, fluorescent lights, 305.4 x 58.4 x 8.9 cm, Tate Gallery, London.



see thumbnail to rightDan Flavin, Untitled (For you, Leo, in long respect and admiration) 2, 1977, fluorescent lights, 8 feet square across a corner.



Robert Irwin (American, 1928-), No Title, 1966-67, synthetic polymer on aluminum with 4 flood lights, diameter 48 inches (121.9 cm), depth 13 inches (33 cm), Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.




see thumbnail to leftBruce Nauman (American, 1941-), Double Poke in the Eye II, 1985, neon construction, 24 x 36 x 11 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO.




see thumbnail to rightAbelardo Morell (American, born Cuba, 1948-), Light Bulb, 1991, photograph of a camera obscura — a corrugated cardboard box, fitted with a lens — so that light from a light bulb beside it is cast onto a wall of the box's interior. Morell has made numerous photographs of rooms that he has transformed into camera obscuras. See transformation.




see thumbnail to leftJim Hodges (American, 1957-), Dot, 1999, wood and metal panel, ceramic sockets, light bulbs, 31 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 5 inches, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO. See dot.






Also see Caravaggisti, chiaroscuro, color, colorblind, color temperature, crepuscular, dark, day for night, feng shui, filter, fluorescence and fluorescent lamps, fluorescent colors, frisket, girandole, glass, gradation, heighten, highlight, incident light, kaleidoscope, lens, luminosity, mirror, moiré, nocturne, night blindness or nyctalopia, ophthalmology, pearlescent, perception, positive, ray, reflection, refraction, RGB (red green blue), seeing, spectrum, straight, surface, tenebroso or tenebrism, ultraviolet, value, and vitrine.






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