Friday, June 13, 2003

Rembrandt in Chiaroscuro

Was it vanity that resulted in Rembrandt's left-ear deformity? A BBC report brought forth the theory by a British surgeon that the Dutch painter's visibly enlarged earlobe in many of his self-portraits is caused by a botched ear-piercing job. Rembrandt, being the fashionable artist of his time might have attempted to have his ears pierced again after the earlier failure as an ear-ring is visible in some of his later portraits.

This intriguing explaination was given 330 years after the artist's death from careful analysis of his many self-portraits by the surgeon. Rembrandt is famous for his chiaroscuro style, where the sharp contrast of light and shadow helps to highlight key features of his subjects or heighten the drama of a scene. His lighting style is a great influence to many artists including modern film-makers. My favourite director Ridley Scott is especially fond of it.

No comments: