|DRAWING SKETCHING COURSE: Light and shade example|
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The surfaces in the foreground are light. The middle ground forms the necessary dark areas, against which objects lying in front are standing out.
WteWael is playing with light and shadow.
I don’t want to interpret the content, but it is obvious, that the dark gate is threatening and crushing, the dark soldiers do the same. The emissaries are servile and also optically "oppressed" by the dark masses of the gate. In contrast the winner stands in a bright area of the print, he himself is lighter and brighter than the representatives of the city.
Everything being in front is bright. The soil in front is bright and becomes towards the middle ground darker. Surfaces of objects being in front are bright, figures, knees, legs, shoulder, heads, armament, dresses – objects in front are bright.
Although the winner is standing in front of a bright middle and background, the trunk and the leaves the tree form he necessary middle ground, to which the bright surfaces (like the ladies head) are in contrast.
Of special interest is the background showing the city. The background is as bright as the foreground. But the contrasts are week and the details are blurred. Therefore we get the feeling, that the shown parts of the city are far away.
If you enlarge the picture you will see, that the outlines and surfaces of the represented objects dissolve ever more, the far these are distant. This is corresponding to our experience, that objects being far away are loosing contrast and are lightened up. Dust and moisture in the air are absorbing and strewing light, so the objects seam to be bluish, pale, with low contrast and lightened up.
By the way: regard to the foot of the third figure from the left. Only the toes are at the soil. The foot is an example for the fact, that the position of the shade of an object defines the position of the object itself.