Rogier van der Weyden, Rembrandt, Cranach (elder + junior), van Eyck, Botticelli, Tiepolo, Rubens, Titian….the Renaissance hit parade. All at the Gemäldegalerie in beautiful rooms filled with northern light, where the paintings are given plenty of space around them. The iphone is not the ideal camera for these paintings—it tends to add contrast and has limited dynamic range. However, by editing the image in place through a change in exposure (typically a drop), sometimes with highlight corrections, what’s on the screen approaches the painting. We tend to add contrast in photography. What struck me over and over was the extent to which these masters kept contrast well under control, edges are soft, in a way that suggested the light was coming from within the painting.
Rembrandt up close is one thing and further back is another. The former are like abstractions, textures from the brush and colors without discernible form. Further back, the image becomes apparent. This idea of abstraction within figuration is something I want to think about more.