Light and the Spiritual: Luminist Painting


John I. H. Baur in the 1950s looked over American landscape painting of the nineteenth century and noticed the importance of bright light. He therefore renamed the painting luminism.

Bauer considered luminism not only to be about light but also in Cole's sense about things. The bright light highlights the material nature of the physical world.

Here the light is so intense that it makes the water appear to be solid glass.

George Caleb Bingham, Fur Trappers Descending the Missouri, c. 1845, Metropolitan Museum of Art