Saturday, June 6, 2015

Range of Light

Study in clouds by John Constable
English landscape painters J. M. W. Turner and John Constable were two noted observers of the nature of light.

The sky is the source of light in Nature and it governs everything.
John Constable

Both painters rendered landscapes bathed in what art historian Richard J. Boyle aptly described as "the veil of atmosphere".

Turner and Constable evoked the intensity of light and keen observation of Nature found in the poems of their Romantic era contemporaries Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats.
Not so much life as on a summer's day
Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass,

John Keats, excerpt from the poem Hyperion
John Muir wrote of the quality of light he encountered in the High Sierras:
And from the eastern boundary of this vast golden flower-bed rose the mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant, it seemed not clothed with light but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city.... Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.
The Yosemite, chapter 1.
Late afternoon in the Eastern Sierra
Photo by Michael Hogarth