Owing its longevity to Renaissance artists such as Caravaggio, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Rembrandt, chiaroscuro—the Italian term for the use of contrasts in light and shading across a pictorial work of art—is a stylistic device used to represent shape, form, and color, and to reveal subtle details while adding a three-dimensional quality to two-dimensional images. Today, chiaroscuro has found implementation across all media types—evolving alongside advancements in art and technology. With the creation of CGI, an unprecedented artistic control over light and shadow has become possible, with opportunities for light simulations that would otherwise be challenging to convey visually. IGNANT built on digital implementations of chiaroscuro to demonstrate how drama can be evoked by transforming the techniques of chiaroscuro into methods of digital storytelling.
Each of the pairings arrests us with a sculptural still life paired with a visualization of its light source as an abstracted architectural space.We played with inversions in the rendered images: in classical chiaroscuro, the subject enveloped in darkness is made to glow; creating a sense of space and depth through the contrast of light and shadows. IGNANT inverted this concept—the surrounding architecture informs the chiaroscuro in the representation of the subject; a compilation of objects in this case. The space acts as a physical force within the scene, rather than a secondary element—made of light and color, it interacts with the objects and declares a rather somber mood, staging the drama of the scene and setting the tone for the viewing experience.