Black and white – tricks played by reflection

There is an argument about painting by dutch artist Rembrandt “Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet” weather it is painted by him or is it fake. One of the reasons was that lady in the painting had to much light on her face, but at the same time she was wearing a luxurious coat with dark brown fur collar which suppose to put a shadow at her face.  However later it was discovered that the collar was painted hundred years later after painting itself. That

How would this explain mix up with light and shadow?

Is that a reason at all to claim that painting is authentic or not you ask?

Earlier I was writing about how camera works based on example of camera abscura and lenses. The same idea is behind the colors and light: dark colors would absorb the light and add tho the shadows around them. On the contrary the light colours would reflect on the object next to them and brighten it.

Why is that?

That’s how the light reflection works. Not going too deep in physics it depends on the light length. To give you a basic understanding here is a picture describing how the light and color is reflected.


As well shadows and reflections could be affected by texture. Any object would have it’s own uniq texture which absorbs and reflects light off their surface in it’s special way. For example there are glossy and shiny things like silk fabric, glass, iron – they reflect light. Opposite – there are velvet fabrics, wood and feather.  The reflections and casted shadows would affect also the way we see colors temperature. Therefor some colors can seem warmer and some colder. Here is a color wheel for you as an example.

How do you think which are worm and which are cold?

Which texture would be cold and which would be worm?


If you interested to learn more about how the light wave length influence colors here are some useful links i would definitely recommend:

Light Absorption, Reflection, and Transmission

Colours of light

Color: White Light, Reflection & Absorption


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