One morning in the 16th century, Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini was walked with a
friend through a dewy field. As they chatted with their backs to the sun, Cellini looked
at his shadow on the ground, and was amazed to see a white halo around his head. He
didn’t see a halo on his friend’s shadow, a sign that he took to verify his own unique,
divinely inspired talents.
What he saw that morning has come to be known as Cellini’s halo, although it is more
commonly known by its German name, Heiligenschein, meaning “light of the holy one.”
However, divine purity does not seem to be a factor in the appearance of this phenomenon.
The event occurs when sunlight is reflected and refracted by dewdrops at such an angle
that each viewer can only see his or her own halo.