Visit the Morgue for Composition and Lighting Exercises link on the class web site.

Pick three COLOR paintings to analyze for the five controllable qualities and the three functions of stage lighting.

Write a paper detailing each of the qualities for each of the paintings as described below.

For the purposes of this assignment, you are the audience and the frame of the painting is the proscenium. So, if the subject is facing stage right and the light is being projected from stage right, the subject is being lit by sidelight (not front light.)

Paper Layout:

List the name of the painting and the artist.

Follow that with a description of each controllable qualitiy and objective. Use specific terms from class and describe fully.

Please use stage directions to describe the location of things. Please use appropriate lighting erminology to describe the lighting source (e.g. low angle diagonal front light from stage left.)

Discuss how the lighting affects the composition if possible, again, using terminology we have studied.

Please include the artist's name as well as the name of the painting.

Many of these paintings use biblical or historical stories—it would be a good idea to look those stories up.

Repeat this for the other two paintings.


La Tour, Magdalene with the Smoking Flame

Contollable Qualities

Intensity: How bright or dim each source of light is; some discussion of value range.

Angle: Top, side, front, back, etc. where and to what effect is the light being applied?

Color: This is the color of the light as rendered, not the colors of clothing or walls, etc.

Texture: Again, this is of the light, not the objects. What is creating this texture?

Movement: Obviously, there is no movement in a still photo, but you can infer movement from a flickering candle flame (vs a light bulb), sunlight reflected off of water or through the leaves of a tree in a breeze, etc. If there is no implied movement, just say so.


Visibility: Describe what we can see (and not see) and how that adds to or detracts from the image.

Selective focus: This can be related to visibility, but is it's own topic. Describe how the lighting tells us where to look (and where not to look).

Mood: Describe how the mood of the painting is affected by the lighting.

THETR 151:

Lighting Analysis of Paintings