Light and art are more than inseparable: they form a continuum. Quite simply, it is light that is captured on canvass or paper, in paint or through the lens of a camera and the quality of light in Autumn, particularly here in Cornwall, is unique to that season. It has inspired artists for centuries.
In the Northern hemisphere, Autumn begins at the moment when the sun crosses the ‘celestial equator’ (an imaginary line in the sky corresponding to the earthly equator), sometime between the 22nd and 24th of September. From then until the winter solstice in December, the days will grow shorter, the nights longer. The air becomes crisper and, while the season is changing towards winter, the colours are richer and deeper. And the light itself becomes a muted gold rather than a white burst of brilliance overhead, allowing for a more sophisticated palette than we have enjoyed in previous months.
The scientific explanation for this shift in the colour spectrum is that, after the earth tilts at the Autumn equinox, the sun’s rays take longer to reach us. They are now long, slanting beams that soften what they illuminate rather than sharpening hardening the edges, as they do in summer. Through this, we are able to glimpse just what it is about Autumnal light that has aided in producing such exceptional artwork across time.