This lectures was in the TOWN HALL: 10.45 for morning members: 13.30 for afternoon members.

Thursday 21 June 2018


Let There Be Light!
Speaker: Alexandra Drysdale

Alexandra Drysdale’s lecture was packed  with information about how light is used by great painters from the Ancient Greeks to David Hockney. Her arguments aimed at enlightening us about how artists have painted temporal and spiritual art through the ages.

Light has been used to represent God, redemption and the spiritual aspects of life as seen in icons. With the Roman Empire art was influenced by two different styles; the East  in the style of the Egyptians and the West pursuing a path of realism as seen in the paintings of Giotto where he depicts light falling on human bodies to give a sense of roundness.

Artists in Bruges then started to create photographic paintings by using oil paints for luminosity which heightens the sense of realism and can build a scale of dark to light not possible with earlier frescoes. Van Eyck painted mirrors to show realism and to manipulate light as seen in The Anrnolfini portrait where a marriage is being celebrated. Reflected in the shining mirror in the painting a figure can be seen who could be Van Eyck himself! The pursuit of realism peaked with Caravaggio and his dramatic paintings with a background of darkness and spotlights on shiny surfaces. Eastern Christian tradition such as paintings by  El Greco depicted a supernatural, cold light, fused with the style of Venetian painters such as Titian where the light shown represents spiritual ecstasy.

Hollywood stars today use Rembrandt’s flattering lighting as shown in his self portraits where strong light focuses on one cheek surrounded by darkness. Turner masters light in his water colours. Alexandra enthusiastically showed us many more slides of famous artists and their use of light such as Vermeer and the light on a shiny pearl ear ring. Monet depicted moving light and modern artists such as Michael Andrews depicted light through ideas of his view of the ego.