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Depiction of space by means of linear perspective has been widely discussed, whereas pictorial light has received scant attention. Art historians have preferred to emphasize perspective as the major Renaissance achievement rather than light because perspective is more easily defined. Due to its abstract nature, and unlike perspective, accident and intention are not easy to distinguish when describing light with language (Hills, 1987). Moreover, visual psychologists have shown that most of us are not particularly good at judging illumination features in a photograph (nor paintings, by extension). The project hypothesizes that computational language may help to construct a renewed epistemology to further analyze and name light features in early modern painting. Dialectical light strives to confront concepts and metrics; the discursive with the computational; the established with the unknown. This confrontation is the source of contradictions and synthesis that allow deep understanding of the (digital) art historical inquiries to address: What are the differences in the study of early modern light between established art historical theories and contemporary computer techniques?
Hills, P. (1987). The light of early Italian painting. Yale University Press.
Symposium From Hype to Reality: Artificial Intelligence in the Study of Art and Culture