Wed, Mar 29, 2017 | updated 06:48 PM IST

Cutting edge optics may have helped Rembrandt draw self-portraits

Updated: Jul 14, 2016 11:08 IST

Washington D.C, Jul 14 (ANI): The rich realism of Rembrandt's self-portraits has left many scientists scratching their head, but now a new research suggests he may have used mirrors and lenses to effectively "trace" his own face.

Two independent researchers concluded that Rembrandt and many other of the Old Masters may have used cutting-edge optics to aid their self-portraits.

"(Artist) David Hockney, and a physicist, Charles Falco, first put forward the idea that the Old Masters may have used optics to help with realism and accuracy in the year 2000," explained author Francis O'Neill, adding "However, this was met with some scepticism, with the realism shown in some self-portraits used as an argument that these artists would not need optics for other works."

The authors were able to show that using technology available to 17th century artists, it is possible to project a self-portrait image onto a surface that the artist could mark or trace.

Five setups are proposed by the authors - one using solely a concave mirror, and three using a combination of a flat and a concave mirror, and one using two flat mirrors and a lens.

The researchers also analysed the works of Rembrandt, an artist well-known for his highly-detailed self-portraits.

"He made etchings and even a couple of painted self-portraits on copper, a surface upon which projections can be seen very clearly," noted O'Neill, "and his works are known for their use of Chiaroscuro, a contrast of light and dark which would be essential for projections."

"Furthermore, his self-portraits laughing and with wide-open eyes would require incredible physical discipline to alternate between looking at himself in the mirror and then creating the image - but he wouldn't have had to move his eyes from the drawing surface if he traced a projection."

"On a separate point, both Rembrandt and other Old Masters made paintings in which their eyes look laterally out of the image. It would have been very difficult for them to see and paint themselves this way without the use of projections."

The researchers also reviewed the relative proportions of Rembrandt's head in his late self-portraits, which are consistently and unusually large. His etched self-portraits are also generally very small. The researchers found these anomalies to be necessary for the projection process.

"The evidence suggests he used lenses and projections," concluded O'Neill. "The similarity of his images to projections, in their lighting and soft focus, along with the use of lens technology by his peers and fellow artists, and the contemporary literature on the subject, all support this."

The study appears in the Journal of Optics. (ANI)

New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 (ANI): The increase of devastating weather extremes in summer is likely linked to human-made climate change, mounting evidence shows.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 27 (ANI): Looks like summer will be yet more unbearable this year, atleast the present weather condition makes us believe so.

Full Story >>

A simple route to developing new sensors

Updated: Mar 25, 2017 11:01 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): Turns out, there's more to a material used for decades to colour food items than meets the eye.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Mar. 24 (ANI): Following a huge explosion of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun's corona, Tasmania's skyline has been aglow in recent days - with vivid purple and green lights illuminating the horizon.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.23 (ANI): What the CRAB!

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.23 (ANI): According to a new study, places which have weaker non-medical exemption policies for vaccinations can reduce the likelihood of a measles outbreak 140 to 190 percent by strengthening them.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 23 (ANI): Higher level of blood sugar and insulin resistance, accompanied by obesity and physical inactivity, is also linked to more rapid decline in cognitive performance, says a new study.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar.22 (ANI): Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working on systems to forecast the natural disasters that could be used as input by States/disaster management agencies.

Full Story >>

Does universe have a time frame?

Updated: Mar 22, 2017 15:11 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar.22 (ANI): Has anybody ever wondered whether our universe has a resting time frame? A researcher is conducting an experiment to find this out.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C.[USA], Mar. 22 (ANI): A recent research suggests that essential microscopic creatures which produce half of the oxygen in the atmosphere can rapidly adapt to global warming.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 22 (ANI): He already had a research ship, dinosaur and flightless weevil named after him and now, Sir David Attenborough's hat has got another feather in the form of a 430 million-year-old shrimp ancestor.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 22 (ANI): A team of scientists has brought fresh hope to alcoholics as they are trying to find out whether or not treating the addiction is as simple as popping over-the-counter pills.

Full Story >>

Wild chimps 'surprisingly' live longer!

Updated: Mar 21, 2017 14:01 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 21 (ANI): Our close primate relatives, chimpanzees, have longer life span, if kept under the right ecological conditions.

Full Story >>

Restoring Pluto's planetary identity in crisis

Updated: Mar 18, 2017 06:55 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 18 (ANI): A decade after Pluto was ousted from the planet lineup, a supporter of the now dwarf planet is fighting to restore its title.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C [USA], Mar. 17 (ANI): The risk of hearing loss from exposure to noises is all around us every day and now, a recent study

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 16 (ANI): Today, over 95 percent of vanilla flavouring used in foods, from cereal to ice cream, is not natural and the production of the synthetic one is taking a toll on

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 16 (ANI): Good news for those who want to continue using fabric softeners but are afraid of risking the environment as a recent study has paved the way for the "greener"

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 16 (ANI): Earth's radiation belts, two doughnut-shaped regions of charged particles encircling our planet,were discovered more than 50 years ago, but their behaviour is still not completely understood.

Full Story >>

New York [U.S.A.], Mar. 13 (ANI): US tech giant Google has announced that using artificial intelligence to identify breast cancer has borne fruitful results.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 13 (ANI): Turns out, social media is far more accurate than traditional forecasting as a team of researchers has suggested that it can warn us about extreme weather events before they happen- such as hurricanes, storms and floods.

Full Story >>