Abstract

Brewster’s dark patch is a simple optical effect in the environment. It is easily seen, but apparently it has not been formally noticed or explained until quite recently. Nevertheless, some artists appear to have represented it in paintings without, of course, knowing its optical origins. A case can be made that a watercolor by Albrecht Dürer from around 1497 illustrates the phenomenon.

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References

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  1. G. P. Können, Polarized Light in Nature (Cambridge University, 1985), p. 95 [Dutch, Thieme & Cie-Zutphen, 1980].
  2. D. Pye, Polarised Light in Science and Nature (Institute of Physics/Taylor Francis, 2001), pp. 85–86, Plates 26, 27.
  3. P. Takács, A. Barta, D. Pye, and G. Horváth, “Polarization optics of the Brewster’s dark patch visible on water surfaces versus solar height and sky conditions: theory, computer modelling, photography and painting,” Appl. Opt. 56, 8353–8361 (2017).
    [Crossref]
  4. R. L. Lee and A. B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth and Science (Pennsylvania State University, 2001), pp. 83–92.

2017 (1)

Barta, A.

Fraser, A. B.

R. L. Lee and A. B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth and Science (Pennsylvania State University, 2001), pp. 83–92.

Horváth, G.

Können, G. P.

G. P. Können, Polarized Light in Nature (Cambridge University, 1985), p. 95 [Dutch, Thieme & Cie-Zutphen, 1980].

Lee, R. L.

R. L. Lee and A. B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth and Science (Pennsylvania State University, 2001), pp. 83–92.

Pye, D.

Takács, P.

Appl. Opt. (1)

Other (3)

G. P. Können, Polarized Light in Nature (Cambridge University, 1985), p. 95 [Dutch, Thieme & Cie-Zutphen, 1980].

D. Pye, Polarised Light in Science and Nature (Institute of Physics/Taylor Francis, 2001), pp. 85–86, Plates 26, 27.

R. L. Lee and A. B. Fraser, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth and Science (Pennsylvania State University, 2001), pp. 83–92.

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Figures (5)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Albrecht Dürer’s painting Landscape with a Woodland Pool, ca. 1497. British Museum.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Light from one side (arrows) is scattered and polarized by the atmosphere (vertical bars) and reflected by water (horizontal bars). In the near field, where the polarization of reflected light is strongest (longest bars), the polarized sky is not reflected.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Lake Hyllsjõn in Sweden, looking north in early morning. The clear blue sky is not reflected in the near field. No polarizing filters were used for the photography. Taken at 08:37 on 4 June 2011. Camera Nikon Coolpix P80, 1/160 sec., $f$ 4.5, 4.7 mm, 1.7 MB.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Taj Mahal in Agra, looking north in late evening. The clear blue sky is not reflected in the near field, although the dome and minarets are reflected well. Image courtesy of Abercrombie and Kent Travel.
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. Edouard Vuillard’s painting The Ferryman, 1897. Musée D’Orsay, Paris. The light is from the left and the blue sky is not reflected in the near field, although the poplar trees reflect well.