Raking light

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An topographic examination technique that uses visible light directed at a low angle to the surface of an object, paper, or painting. Raking light emphasizes the conformation of a surface by creating contrast between high and low relief areas. Cracks, blisters, pits, tears, scratches, cockles and other types of damages or distortions are revealed. Multiple raking light images are usually obtained during an examination with each using light angled from a different direction.

Synonyms and Related Terms

schiefes Licht (Deut.); schräge Beleuchtung (Deut.); lumière rasante (Fr.); luz rasante (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • Nathan Stolow, 'Examination modes of lighting'
  • David Bomford, Jo Kirby, John Leighton, Ashok Roy, Art in the Making: Impressionism, National Gallery, London, 1990
  • Janet Burnett Grossman, Looking at Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2003

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