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“We eat light; drink it in through our skins.”

    Those who know L.A light consider it unique. This was the light that drew early moviemakers to Hollywood, thrilled by how it pinned the needles of their light meters. This is the light that has tourists squinting, groping for sunglasses,…

Celebrate the Light — Festivals Around the World

Picture Berlin's Brandenburg Gate lit with purple columns one night, luminescent roses the next. Imagine parks with trees glowing in citrus colors. Visualize the bulbous domes of a cathedral colored in pastel flowers. Now open your eyes to dozens of…

“Painting is Light!” – Caravaggio

Every artist knows the importance of light.  Only a small handful have become its master. His given name was Michelangelo Merisi, but because Italy already had a famous Michelangelo, Merisi’s hometown became his signature -- Caravaggio.  As a rebellious, violent…

I Have Seized the Fleeting Light!

  Before the summer of 1839, history posed for its portraits.  Prior to August 19 of that year, all people, all events, all landscapes were artists’ renderings.  But then in one revolutionary moment, on the banks of the river Seine,…

The Brightest Light on Earth

In 332 BCE, Alexander the Great mapped out a city worthy of his name. On one edge would be the Gate of the Sun, at the other the Gate of the Moon. And just off shore would be a lighthouse.…

The Secret of Rembrandt

       Of all masters of light, none puzzles like Rembrandt.  That light, that golden, shimmering light -- surely there were tricks behind it. No eyes could be so sensitive, no brush so skilled as to create such a living illusion.…

The Woodstock of Light

      Despite our laser-lit age, despite our daily use of light to read, cut, measure, scan, clean, carve, and more, light retains its wonder.  Evidence of light's enduring power will surface tonight on a sweeping plain near London.  There crowds…

Bright is the Noble Edifice

Along with the summer solstice, June brings the birthday of Gothic Light. Though it now shines throughout Northern Europe, Gothic radiance first beamed into a single cathedral on the edge of Paris.  On a single June morning.  In the year…

Particle, Wave, and Wonder

This month marks the birthday – May 10 -- of a little-known French genius who gave us an understanding of light that still informs how we see and recreate it.  "Nature does not dread difficulties of analysis” – Augustin-Jean Fresnel…

The Sun is Googled

       The purest patches of light are not seen in the sky but in a handful of quiet rooms in a museum on the banks of the Thames in greying old London.  I saw this light once and it burns…

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