Leaves from the Hours of Albrecht of Brandenburg

Light effects

Artists' Techniques

Bening used shell gold and carefully blended or juxtaposed colours to simulate atmospheric effects and to recreate the impact of light on different materials and textures. He followed contemporary conventions in depicting a consistent light source illuminating all scenes and frames from the top left, and employed aerial perspective to create a sense of depth and to distinguish between picture planes (e.g. MSS 294a, 294c). Bening also explored the impact of additional light sources – divine, man-made or infernal. He used shell gold of varying density for the rays of the Holy Spirit emanating from the dove in the Annunciation miniature (MS 294b). He painted realistic flames in the fireplace that warms the newborn Mary (MS 294c). He reserved the most dramatic treatment and the most complex combination of pigments for the fire and smoke of Hell (MS 294d).