Abstract

A brief historical overview of the atmospheric optical phenomena that appear in works of fine art is presented. It is shown that artists have recorded many features of the color and brightness of the sky and clouds, aerial perspective and visibility effects, and phenomena, including crepuscular rays, rainbows, halos, and coronas. Artistic biases resulting from prevailing styles and societal influences are noted. Attention is drawn to a number of phenomena recorded by artists that have not yet been explained or modeled.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. E. MacCurdy, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (George Braziller, New York, 1955).
  2. Revised edition, Leonardo da Vinci (Reynal, New York, 1967).
  3. S. D. Gedzelman, “Cloud classification before Luke Howard,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 70, 381–395 (1989).
    [CrossRef]
  4. H. H. Lamb, “Britain’s changing climate,” Geogr. J. 133, 445–466 (1967).
    [CrossRef]
  5. H. Neuberger, “Climate in art,” Weather 25, 45–56 (1970).
    [CrossRef]
  6. W. J. Burroughs, “Winter landscape and climate change,” Weather 36, 352–357 (1981).
    [CrossRef]
  7. S. D. Gedzelman, “Leonardo da Vinci and the downburst,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 71, 649–655 (1990).
    [CrossRef]
  8. S. Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (U. Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 1983), pp. 1–51.
  9. R. Joppien, B. Smith, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages (Yale U. Press, New Haven, Conn., 1985).
  10. K. Badt, John Constable’s Clouds (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1950).
  11. L. C. W. Bonacina, “John Constable’s centenary: his position as a painter of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 63, 483–490 (1937).
    [CrossRef]
  12. L. C. W. Bonacina, “Turner’s portrayal of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 64, 601–611 (1938).
    [CrossRef]
  13. J. Constable, “Lectures on the history of landscape painting (1837),” in John Constable’s Discourses, R. B. Beckett, comp. (Suffolk Records Society, Ipswich, 1970), p. 64.
  14. J. E. Thornes, “The weather dating of John Constable’s clouds,” Weather 34, 308–315 (1979).
    [CrossRef]
  15. W. I. Homer, Seurat and the Science of Painting (MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1964).
  16. R. L. Fox, The Search for Alexander (Allen Lane, London, 1980).
  17. D. Pearsall, E. Salter, Landscapes and Seasons of the Medieval World (U. Toronto Press, Toronto, 1973), p. 41.
  18. Limbourg Brothers, “Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1416),” reproduced in Illuminated Manuscripts: Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, E. Pognon, ed. (Crescent Books, New York, 1979).
  19. S. D. Gedzelman, “Sky color near the horizon during a total solar eclipse,” Appl. Opt. 14, 2831–2837 (1975).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. F. Kelley, Frederic Edwin Church (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1989), pp. 26 and 62.
  21. W. Hurley, Wilson Hurley: an Exhibition of Oil Paintings (Lowell Press, Kansas, 1977), plates 1–2.
  22. S. D. Gedzelman, “The meteorological odyssey of Vincent van Gogh,” Leonardo 23, 107–116 (1990).
    [CrossRef]
  23. C. Doswell, NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Okla. (personal communication).
  24. J. Cahill, Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368 (Weatherhill, Inc., New York, 1976).
  25. J. Ruskin, The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent, 1884).
  26. Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, translated and annotated by A. P. McMahon in 2 Vols. (Princeton U. Press, Princeton, N.J., 1956).
  27. L. Mumford, Technics and Civilization (Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1934), pp. 199–200.
  28. P. Brimblecombe, C. Ogden, “Air pollution in art and literature,” Weather 32, 285–291 (1977).
    [CrossRef]
  29. J. Whistler, “Ten O’Clock Lecture (1885),” quoted in Whistler, a Biography, S. Weintraub, ed. (Weybright & Talley, NewYork, 1974).
  30. G. Reynolds, Constable’s England (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983), pp. 156–157.
  31. L. Howard, The Climate of London (London, 1818–1820).
  32. P. Schweizer, “John Constable, rainbow science and English color theory,” Art Bull. 64, 424–444 (1984).
    [CrossRef]
  33. Larousse Encyclopedia of World Mythology (Chartwell Books, Secaucus, N.J., 1965), facing p. 17.
  34. K. Sassen, “Rainbows in the Indian rock art of desert Western America,” Appl. Opt. 30, 3523–3537 (1991).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  35. A. B. Fraser, R. L. Lee, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).
  36. A. B. Cook, Zeus: a Study in Ancient Religion (Cambridge U. Press, London, 1940), Vol. III, Pt. 1.
  37. J. Ruskin, “The Eagle’s Nest,” in The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air, M. Minnaert, ed. (Dover, New York, 1954), p. 170.
  38. G. Siscoe, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024 (personal communication).
  39. W. Hurley, Albuquerque, N.M. 87122 (personal communication).
  40. G. A. Seibel, Ontario’s Niagara Parks (Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1985), pp. 7, 23, 78.
  41. J. Heffernan, The Recreation of Landscape: A Study of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Constable and Turner (University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H., 1984), pp. 1–33.
  42. R. L. Lee, “What are all the colors of the rainbow?,” Appl. Opt. 30, 3401–3407 (1991).
    [PubMed]
  43. N. Cikovsky, M. Quick, George Inness (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Harper & Row, New York, 1985).
  44. P. Horgan, Peter Hurd: a Portrait Sketch from Life (U. Texas Press, Austin, Tx., 1964), opposite p. 40.
  45. C. Sagen, Cosmos (Random House, New York, 1980), p. 42.
  46. R. A. R. Tricker, Introduction to Meteorological Optics (American Elsevier, New York, 1970), p. 193.
  47. A. B. Fraser, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).

1991 (2)

1990 (2)

S. D. Gedzelman, “The meteorological odyssey of Vincent van Gogh,” Leonardo 23, 107–116 (1990).
[CrossRef]

S. D. Gedzelman, “Leonardo da Vinci and the downburst,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 71, 649–655 (1990).
[CrossRef]

1989 (1)

S. D. Gedzelman, “Cloud classification before Luke Howard,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 70, 381–395 (1989).
[CrossRef]

1984 (1)

P. Schweizer, “John Constable, rainbow science and English color theory,” Art Bull. 64, 424–444 (1984).
[CrossRef]

1981 (1)

W. J. Burroughs, “Winter landscape and climate change,” Weather 36, 352–357 (1981).
[CrossRef]

1979 (1)

J. E. Thornes, “The weather dating of John Constable’s clouds,” Weather 34, 308–315 (1979).
[CrossRef]

1977 (1)

P. Brimblecombe, C. Ogden, “Air pollution in art and literature,” Weather 32, 285–291 (1977).
[CrossRef]

1975 (1)

1970 (1)

H. Neuberger, “Climate in art,” Weather 25, 45–56 (1970).
[CrossRef]

1967 (1)

H. H. Lamb, “Britain’s changing climate,” Geogr. J. 133, 445–466 (1967).
[CrossRef]

1938 (1)

L. C. W. Bonacina, “Turner’s portrayal of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 64, 601–611 (1938).
[CrossRef]

1937 (1)

L. C. W. Bonacina, “John Constable’s centenary: his position as a painter of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 63, 483–490 (1937).
[CrossRef]

Alpers, S.

S. Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (U. Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 1983), pp. 1–51.

Badt, K.

K. Badt, John Constable’s Clouds (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1950).

Bonacina, L. C. W.

L. C. W. Bonacina, “Turner’s portrayal of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 64, 601–611 (1938).
[CrossRef]

L. C. W. Bonacina, “John Constable’s centenary: his position as a painter of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 63, 483–490 (1937).
[CrossRef]

Brimblecombe, P.

P. Brimblecombe, C. Ogden, “Air pollution in art and literature,” Weather 32, 285–291 (1977).
[CrossRef]

Burroughs, W. J.

W. J. Burroughs, “Winter landscape and climate change,” Weather 36, 352–357 (1981).
[CrossRef]

Cahill, J.

J. Cahill, Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368 (Weatherhill, Inc., New York, 1976).

Cikovsky, N.

N. Cikovsky, M. Quick, George Inness (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Harper & Row, New York, 1985).

Constable, J.

J. Constable, “Lectures on the history of landscape painting (1837),” in John Constable’s Discourses, R. B. Beckett, comp. (Suffolk Records Society, Ipswich, 1970), p. 64.

Cook, A. B.

A. B. Cook, Zeus: a Study in Ancient Religion (Cambridge U. Press, London, 1940), Vol. III, Pt. 1.

da Vinci, Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, translated and annotated by A. P. McMahon in 2 Vols. (Princeton U. Press, Princeton, N.J., 1956).

Doswell, C.

C. Doswell, NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Okla. (personal communication).

Fox, R. L.

R. L. Fox, The Search for Alexander (Allen Lane, London, 1980).

Fraser, A. B.

A. B. Fraser, R. L. Lee, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).

A. B. Fraser, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).

Gedzelman, S. D.

S. D. Gedzelman, “The meteorological odyssey of Vincent van Gogh,” Leonardo 23, 107–116 (1990).
[CrossRef]

S. D. Gedzelman, “Leonardo da Vinci and the downburst,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 71, 649–655 (1990).
[CrossRef]

S. D. Gedzelman, “Cloud classification before Luke Howard,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 70, 381–395 (1989).
[CrossRef]

S. D. Gedzelman, “Sky color near the horizon during a total solar eclipse,” Appl. Opt. 14, 2831–2837 (1975).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Heffernan, J.

J. Heffernan, The Recreation of Landscape: A Study of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Constable and Turner (University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H., 1984), pp. 1–33.

Homer, W. I.

W. I. Homer, Seurat and the Science of Painting (MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1964).

Horgan, P.

P. Horgan, Peter Hurd: a Portrait Sketch from Life (U. Texas Press, Austin, Tx., 1964), opposite p. 40.

Howard, L.

L. Howard, The Climate of London (London, 1818–1820).

Hurley, W.

W. Hurley, Albuquerque, N.M. 87122 (personal communication).

W. Hurley, Wilson Hurley: an Exhibition of Oil Paintings (Lowell Press, Kansas, 1977), plates 1–2.

Joppien, R.

R. Joppien, B. Smith, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages (Yale U. Press, New Haven, Conn., 1985).

Kelley, F.

F. Kelley, Frederic Edwin Church (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1989), pp. 26 and 62.

Lamb, H. H.

H. H. Lamb, “Britain’s changing climate,” Geogr. J. 133, 445–466 (1967).
[CrossRef]

Lee, R. L.

R. L. Lee, “What are all the colors of the rainbow?,” Appl. Opt. 30, 3401–3407 (1991).
[PubMed]

A. B. Fraser, R. L. Lee, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).

MacCurdy, E.

E. MacCurdy, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (George Braziller, New York, 1955).

Mumford, L.

L. Mumford, Technics and Civilization (Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1934), pp. 199–200.

Neuberger, H.

H. Neuberger, “Climate in art,” Weather 25, 45–56 (1970).
[CrossRef]

Ogden, C.

P. Brimblecombe, C. Ogden, “Air pollution in art and literature,” Weather 32, 285–291 (1977).
[CrossRef]

Pearsall, D.

D. Pearsall, E. Salter, Landscapes and Seasons of the Medieval World (U. Toronto Press, Toronto, 1973), p. 41.

Quick, M.

N. Cikovsky, M. Quick, George Inness (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Harper & Row, New York, 1985).

Reynolds, G.

G. Reynolds, Constable’s England (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983), pp. 156–157.

Ruskin, J.

J. Ruskin, The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent, 1884).

J. Ruskin, “The Eagle’s Nest,” in The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air, M. Minnaert, ed. (Dover, New York, 1954), p. 170.

Sagen, C.

C. Sagen, Cosmos (Random House, New York, 1980), p. 42.

Salter, E.

D. Pearsall, E. Salter, Landscapes and Seasons of the Medieval World (U. Toronto Press, Toronto, 1973), p. 41.

Sassen, K.

Schweizer, P.

P. Schweizer, “John Constable, rainbow science and English color theory,” Art Bull. 64, 424–444 (1984).
[CrossRef]

Seibel, G. A.

G. A. Seibel, Ontario’s Niagara Parks (Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1985), pp. 7, 23, 78.

Siscoe, G.

G. Siscoe, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024 (personal communication).

Smith, B.

R. Joppien, B. Smith, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages (Yale U. Press, New Haven, Conn., 1985).

Thornes, J. E.

J. E. Thornes, “The weather dating of John Constable’s clouds,” Weather 34, 308–315 (1979).
[CrossRef]

Tricker, R. A. R.

R. A. R. Tricker, Introduction to Meteorological Optics (American Elsevier, New York, 1970), p. 193.

Whistler, J.

J. Whistler, “Ten O’Clock Lecture (1885),” quoted in Whistler, a Biography, S. Weintraub, ed. (Weybright & Talley, NewYork, 1974).

Appl. Opt. (3)

Art Bull. (1)

P. Schweizer, “John Constable, rainbow science and English color theory,” Art Bull. 64, 424–444 (1984).
[CrossRef]

Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. (2)

S. D. Gedzelman, “Cloud classification before Luke Howard,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 70, 381–395 (1989).
[CrossRef]

S. D. Gedzelman, “Leonardo da Vinci and the downburst,” Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 71, 649–655 (1990).
[CrossRef]

Geogr. J. (1)

H. H. Lamb, “Britain’s changing climate,” Geogr. J. 133, 445–466 (1967).
[CrossRef]

Leonardo (1)

S. D. Gedzelman, “The meteorological odyssey of Vincent van Gogh,” Leonardo 23, 107–116 (1990).
[CrossRef]

Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. (2)

L. C. W. Bonacina, “John Constable’s centenary: his position as a painter of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 63, 483–490 (1937).
[CrossRef]

L. C. W. Bonacina, “Turner’s portrayal of weather,” Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 64, 601–611 (1938).
[CrossRef]

Weather (4)

J. E. Thornes, “The weather dating of John Constable’s clouds,” Weather 34, 308–315 (1979).
[CrossRef]

H. Neuberger, “Climate in art,” Weather 25, 45–56 (1970).
[CrossRef]

W. J. Burroughs, “Winter landscape and climate change,” Weather 36, 352–357 (1981).
[CrossRef]

P. Brimblecombe, C. Ogden, “Air pollution in art and literature,” Weather 32, 285–291 (1977).
[CrossRef]

Other (33)

J. Whistler, “Ten O’Clock Lecture (1885),” quoted in Whistler, a Biography, S. Weintraub, ed. (Weybright & Talley, NewYork, 1974).

G. Reynolds, Constable’s England (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983), pp. 156–157.

L. Howard, The Climate of London (London, 1818–1820).

C. Doswell, NOAA Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Okla. (personal communication).

J. Cahill, Hills Beyond a River: Chinese Painting of the Yuan Dynasty, 1279–1368 (Weatherhill, Inc., New York, 1976).

J. Ruskin, The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century (George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent, 1884).

Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, translated and annotated by A. P. McMahon in 2 Vols. (Princeton U. Press, Princeton, N.J., 1956).

L. Mumford, Technics and Civilization (Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 1934), pp. 199–200.

A. B. Fraser, R. L. Lee, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).

A. B. Cook, Zeus: a Study in Ancient Religion (Cambridge U. Press, London, 1940), Vol. III, Pt. 1.

J. Ruskin, “The Eagle’s Nest,” in The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air, M. Minnaert, ed. (Dover, New York, 1954), p. 170.

G. Siscoe, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif. 90024 (personal communication).

W. Hurley, Albuquerque, N.M. 87122 (personal communication).

G. A. Seibel, Ontario’s Niagara Parks (Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1985), pp. 7, 23, 78.

J. Heffernan, The Recreation of Landscape: A Study of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Constable and Turner (University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H., 1984), pp. 1–33.

S. Alpers, The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century (U. Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill., 1983), pp. 1–51.

R. Joppien, B. Smith, The Art of Captain Cook’s Voyages (Yale U. Press, New Haven, Conn., 1985).

K. Badt, John Constable’s Clouds (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1950).

W. I. Homer, Seurat and the Science of Painting (MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1964).

R. L. Fox, The Search for Alexander (Allen Lane, London, 1980).

D. Pearsall, E. Salter, Landscapes and Seasons of the Medieval World (U. Toronto Press, Toronto, 1973), p. 41.

Limbourg Brothers, “Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1416),” reproduced in Illuminated Manuscripts: Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, E. Pognon, ed. (Crescent Books, New York, 1979).

J. Constable, “Lectures on the history of landscape painting (1837),” in John Constable’s Discourses, R. B. Beckett, comp. (Suffolk Records Society, Ipswich, 1970), p. 64.

E. MacCurdy, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (George Braziller, New York, 1955).

Revised edition, Leonardo da Vinci (Reynal, New York, 1967).

Larousse Encyclopedia of World Mythology (Chartwell Books, Secaucus, N.J., 1965), facing p. 17.

F. Kelley, Frederic Edwin Church (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1989), pp. 26 and 62.

W. Hurley, Wilson Hurley: an Exhibition of Oil Paintings (Lowell Press, Kansas, 1977), plates 1–2.

N. Cikovsky, M. Quick, George Inness (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Harper & Row, New York, 1985).

P. Horgan, Peter Hurd: a Portrait Sketch from Life (U. Texas Press, Austin, Tx., 1964), opposite p. 40.

C. Sagen, Cosmos (Random House, New York, 1980), p. 42.

R. A. R. Tricker, Introduction to Meteorological Optics (American Elsevier, New York, 1970), p. 193.

A. B. Fraser, Meteorology Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa. 16802 (personal communication).

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