That being said, getting the lighting of a specific painting can be quite tricky. Let’s take this painting from Pieter Claesz. There is the obvious light coming through the window and hitting the wall. Apparently the same light source hits the roemer on top and the tazza behind. Somehow this magic light also touches the edge of the bottom of the tazza and perfectly illuminates the flat surface of the cut lemon.
When I set up my lights for this shot, I started with a main light and add more as I needed. I ended up with four as seen in the picture at bottom right.
- One to simulate the “Window Light” or north light
- a second, to lit the roemer as shown in the painting
- Unlike Claesz, I set up a third light under the table to achieve a chiaroscuro treatment, I like that to give more depth and separate the table from the background.
- The fourth light was directed to precisely illuminate the bottom of the tazza. (for a better view of the final image click here)
This stresses the fact that we can’t take these paintings as documents recording facts the same way we take photographs. Which is an intrinsic part of why we call it art, not documentary.
Trying to reproduce these paintings have been a great learning experience and have given me some inside about the paintings themselves, extending my enjoyment and understanding of them, Dutch society at the time and Art in particular..
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