Re: How simultaneous contrast tricks even experts

Thomas Hurd,MD

I prefer the original. I first thought the bluer background made the faces appear more yellow.

So first, I tried to make the faces more magenta, by replacing the background (above the clothing) with the inverse of the magenta reading (M 42) at the prophet’s left faced below the cheekbone. That gave value of  C 51 Y 37. I filled in the background with that color blended with HUE layer blending at 90%

I thought that looked better with a little more rosiness to the cheek of both prophet and cherub.

Then I tried to use then green in the swath between their faces, again filling in the background and HUE layer blending at 90%. That color was C40 M17 Y57. Again better face color so that the inverted clothing colors didn’t offend as much. I thought the original green was a more pleasant background color than the artificially constructed inverse of M 42.

And of course inverting the original green gives the purplish color in the swath of Isaiah 2. So that means that the original green will be simultaneously enhancing that purplish color in the face? Well actually yes that purplish color is C27 M 33, which happens to blend very nicely with the yellow in the skin. And when you enhance the opposite of the purple in Isaiah 2 you get the enhanced green which doesn't look good in many faces.

For completeness, I just masked the inverse above the clothing and left the original colors, which looked pretty good even with then inverse clothes.

I know there is something clever to be said about whether the clothes make then man despite his background, but I did learn a lot about that painting. And I used a similar trick on a photo of my brother and niece at his 60th birthday. I thought his face looked too yellow but I had wiggled the colors around all I could stand to balance the two of their skin tones. But they were standing in front of a framed picture that was mostly green. So I just increased the green saturation in that framed work, and I was happy with his rosier outlook at his seventh decade.

Actually, Michaelangelo didn’t even need to use the whole background to enhance the face, he just used the green swath.

Tom Hurd

On Feb 25, 2020, at 12:03 PM, Quality Control <qualitycontrol@...> wrote:

As to which version I prefer, the warm painting is more pleasing, but there is something to be said for the bluer, darker version. The expression of the prophet in the original is attentive, but in the cool version he is irritated. The face of the child is unsettling in both versions, but in the cool version it is positively creepy. The purple surrounding the weird spinning hair curls serves to emphasize his bizarre nature. The cooler darker colors throughout have a powerful, if unwanted, effect on the personalities of the subjects.

Jonathan Clymer

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