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"The origin of painting is obscure, and hardly falls within the scope of this work. The claim of the Egyptians to have discovered the art six thousand years before it reached Greece is obviously an idle boast, while among the Greeks some say that it was first discovered at Sikyon, others at Corinth. All, however, agree that painting began with the outlining of a man’s shadow; this was the first stage, in the second a single colour was employed, and after the discovery of more elaborate methods this style, which is still in vogue, received the name of monochrome. [...]" --Pliny the Elder

The Invention of the Art of Drawing (1791) by Joseph-Benoît Suvée, in the collection of the Groeningemuseum, Bruges.
The Invention of the Art of Drawing (1791) by Joseph-Benoît Suvée, in the collection of the Groeningemuseum, Bruges.

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A shadow is a region of darkness where light is blocked. It occupies all of the space behind an opaque object with light in front of it.


Mythological connotations


An unattended shadow or shade was thought by some cultures to be similar to that of a ghost.

It is also believed as an alternative construct that shadows are in fact a representation of God's presence around an object; like a halo. Early eastern beliefs also play to this theory. For example, Vishnu (a prominent Hindu god) would appear to help followers by assisting with tasks by lending some of his extra arms to assist the burden of the person.


In heraldry, when a charge is supposedly shown in shadow (the appearance is of the charge merely being outlined in a neutral tint rather than being of one or more tinctures different from the field on which it is placed), it is called umbrated. Supposedly only a limited number of specific charges can be so depicted.


From Middle English schadowe, schadewe, schadwe (also schade > shade), from Old English sceaduwe, sceadwe, oblique form of sceadu (“shadow, shade; darkness; protection”), from Proto-Germanic *skadwaz (“shade, shadow”), from Proto-Indo-European *skot- (“darkness”). Cognate with Scots scaddow, schaddow (“shadow”), Saterland Frisian Skaad (“shade, shadow”), Dutch schaduw (“shadow”), German Schatten (“shadow, shade”), Norwegian skodde (“fog, mist”), Irish scáth (“shadow”), Ancient Greek σκότος (skótos, “darkness, gloom”).

See also


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Shadow" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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