Lighting with Paint in Munich

“The Picture Merchant” by José Antolinez, c. 1670; Oil on Canvas, 201 x 125 cm; Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Join Film and Digital Times for the 10th Digitale Cinematographie in Munich.

Jon Fauer, ASC will present his “Lighting with Paint” lecture in the “Theresienraum” of the “Alte Kongresshalle” (Old Convention Hall) on Theresienhöhe (same place as in 2011) — near the Oktoberfest grounds.

  • Thursday, July 5 from 10.30 – 11.30 am
  • and on Friday from 12.30 – 1.30 pm

“Lighting with Paint” is a whirlwind history of art for cinematographers, directors, gaffers, camera crews, film aficionados and anyone involved with making motion pictures.

It will be loosely based on my column in Film and Digital Times. We look at paintings of the masters to learn about light and lighting. Where does it come from? What is the source? Windows? Is it natural? Is there bounce? Was there a huge ARRIMAX outside the window? Sometimes playfully, we speculate how the masters would have lit a scene.

One thing we definitely do NOT attempt: we don’t try to recreate famous paintings or scenes on set. We discuss art, lighting, concepts, composition, color and movement. We  also see how new digital motion picture cameras are changing how we see and how we light.

Before any film project, it’s a great idea to visit a museum with crew and cast for inspiration.

For example, “The Picture Merchant,” (above) by Claudio José Vicente Antolínez, hangs in Munich’s Alte Pinakotek. The young man in the background might be the artist himself, watching his art become commerce at the hands of the unkempt Picture Merchant. Do the gold coins on the table represent the Merchant’s 15% commission? A contemporary title for the work might be “The Cinematographer’s Agent.”

Antolínez was known for his explosive temper and inflated ego, like Caravaggio, not the best attributes for steady employment. Antolínez died from an infection caused by flesh wounds sustained in a duel. I can only imagine the agency and clients cowering in the video village at the back of the studio. They are picking a short straw to see who will be sent to voice their concerns to the temperamental maestro. Like some of the commercial directors who will follow four centuries hence, Antolínez is feared for his habit of hurling beer bottles at brazen art directors and tossing captious clients into the street.

I must admit, the focused front light makes me fidgety, too. I get an irresistible urge to move the light outside, camera left of the rear window. And wouldn’t it be nice to have an unseen window out of frame to the left of the Picture Merchant?

Antolínez rescues the scene with his contrasty set design. The shades of brown and the distressed, dark wardrobe provide contrast to the front light. It focuses our attention on the superb casting of the characters and their wonderful faces.

To be continued…at Digitale Cinematographie. Register online.


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1 Response:

  1. francesco b. says:

    Always loved that column in F&D Times, and it’d be great to attend, but it’d be great if you posted a video of this for subscribers later!

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