It’s not every day that you find something absolutely stunning and incredible when it comes to art. But when you do it’s reason to celebrate and tells others about it just as you would any truly good thing. Anyways so last night I was playing through the DLC of a game I had beat a while ago called “Dishonored”. It is a game that is all about decisions and even puts the ultimate burden of how lethal you want to be to beat the game on your side of the court. It is set in a world that is supposed to be in many ways similar to London near the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. While playing through you deal with undermining, political moves, assassinations, and a plague not to unlike that of the black plague. The style of the game visually makes it look as though it is an older Victorian era painting using older techniques reticent of the renaissance to make a strong tenebrism or high contrast of colors of dark and light. Combine that with it’s softer textures and the game becomes quite another beauty itself to look at.
However, it is not the actual game itself that astounded me alone last night but the paintings within the art piece that I saw. More importantly these pieces that are about to come.
Incredible right? And to think that these are pieces that are simply hung up as set dressing for the world of “Dishonored”. In fact many of these you might pass by unnoticed unless you took the time to actually look at them. Still there is something more incredible going on and it is a hearkening back to the time period the game is supposed to take place in the turn into the 20th Century and particularly with the Art of the Post-Impressionism and Fauvism types of styles and movements.
More importantly at work here in these paintings is a sort of technique in color mixing and of color theories that were spearheaded by Ogden Rood in his book, “Modern Chromatics, with Applications to Art and Industry”. In it he describes the problem that arises when mixing certain pigments by which the colors become defused or lessened particularly purple. This causes a drop in the popping of the painting and contrast overall. So how to overcome such an issue? Simple, Optical Mixturing or so it is called. In was a technique first used by the Post-Impressionist such ad Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Paul Gaugin. Particularly Georges Seurat’s piece “Sunday on the Grand Jatte” uses it extensively to pull the image back up towards the front and provide depth along with more realistic colors. It is fascinating because the way Optical Mixturing is achieved is by placing certain complimentary colors close but not mixed near each other and by which the colors in your mind will automatically mix the two creating something else entirely such as mixing blue and red via dots might make certain shades of purple. However, instead of making a more dour purple you end up with a far more lighter or luminescent or vibrant purple.
But back to the smoky colored “Dishonored” paintings. I’ll pull up my favorite.
Now obviously with something this astounding and mesmerizing there are quite a lot of things going on. But here you are seeing an advanced version of Optical Mixturing. Notice how there are barely and full real skin tones and that the only ones that are achieved are via the mixing of several colors via the technique mentioned before. The colors might mix but they also are disparate and that allows them to create different hues and shades of various parts. Yet, this piece is also doing something else very interesting and that is it’s delving into Fauvism. Fauvism was also a movement around the same time as the Post-Impressionists and relied also on a very painterly and stroked look combined with colors that really popped. However, what is interesting is that these paintings combine the best of both and in a way create a hybrid of the two (Neo Fauvpressionism) meanwhile also falling possibly into Surrealism.
Here is a close up of the face. I love how for the highlights the artist used a light blue in various shades combined with the darker blues. You almost never see true black entirely and the darkest that you get is with the darker browns allowing for a overall more dour look but also a nice lightening of a otherwise darker picture.
These paintings are absolutely wonderful to look at and dissect and carry a lot of emotion that you don’t always see because it’s based more in the emotion of the colors than anything else.