The light of Sargent and Vermeer

Home / Education / ARChives / Foundational Discussions

The light of Sargent and Vermeer

From Virgil Elliott

Published before 2005


Timothy Tyler wrote: Please correct me, but don't you think Sargent and Vermeer among others had the same light on the subject as the canvas? I am sure these two did most of the time. Candlelight and other things confuse this idea - but not often yes?

Tim,

With Vermeer, the light on the subject came in through the window that is usually on the left in the picture, which could not have provided the light on his canvas, it seems to me. There would surely have been another window just behind and to the left of his easel. Of course it was the same light coming in both windows: indirect daylight from the sky.

The fact that the light is on the left indicates that he was right-handed, as an additional observation.

Virgil