Body of Work: Assignment three – Major Project in-progress
A Rake’s Progress was a series of eight oil paintings by William Hogarth from 1732 – 1734. They were painted as preparatory works for engravings and prints portraying the downfall of the fictional Tom Rakewell. It was this series combined with the work of Tableaux Vivant that inspired me to create a series of images to tell each story. Having rendered the images in colour that followed the story of Orpheus. I decided to convert them to Black and white and give them an antique sepia treatment, this felt similar to the process Hogarth went through in creating engravings from the oils to print so I added the antique-looking paper and printed the story beneath each in an hommage to the original Rakes Progress.
The first plate in the Orpheus and Eurydice Myth needs to depict Orpheus as a bard and Eurydice hearing him play and falling in love with him.
I have created a 3d object model of a lyre which I will use as Orpheus’ instrument the next step is to create a 3D model of each character to use in the ongoing series of plates. I have done some research and found some examples of Ancient Greek clothing to act as a mood board for my creative process. There are two schools of thought in choosing the style of clothing, Firstly there is the historically accurate style as shown in the gallery below. The second is to create the characters in the style of the old masters such as Rubens who clad them in flowing cloth with a lot of skin showing. Rubens liked to paint ample flesh and so the subjects tended to be heavier. I will experiment to see which works best for my methodology.
This classic Greek myth tells the story of the Bard Orpheus who is smitten with the maiden Eurydice whose eye he catches while playing his lyre. They fall in love and get married but on her marriage day, Eurydice is bitten by a snake and dies.
Orpheus is distraught and begs Hades/Pluto for her life back, Hades grants the wish but warns Orpheus that he must not look back at Eurydice until she has left the underworld. Orpheus leads Eurydice out of the underworld trying not to look back at her.
As they reach the entrance to the underworld Orpheus can not contain himself and glances back to make sure Eurydice has left the underworld, only to catch sight of her before she crosses the threshold thus condemning her to return to the underworld and losing her forever.
In order to use this Greek Tragedy, it is necessary to break it into a series of key bullet points so that each point can be developed into a plate for the series.
This is my first take on the series:
Orpheus and Eurydice
- Orpheus meets Euridice and falls in love
- Orpheus Marrys Euridice
- Euridice is bitten by a viper
- Orpheus is distraught
- Orpheus pleads with Hades
- Orpheus leads Euridice out of the underworld
- Orpheus looks round and Euridice dies again
- The Death of Orpheus
The next step is to design a Tableaux image for each step
Having allowed myself to stray from myths and legends my research took me straight back to Greek Myths, My plan for the A3 submission is now forming and this gives me a better understanding of what I am trying to achieve.
The basic idea for my Body of work is to tell a story using images in the style of the Tableaux based on the way oil painters depicted a story I want to tell each story in the way William Hogarth did with A Rakes progress. Hopefully, a mixture of Hogarth Rubens and Tableaux Vivant all do in digital virtual 3d and rendered into flat images combined with photographs will produce a unique take on this idea.
Orpheus and Eurydice
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens 1636 – 1638
Source for the story, note: Pluto is the later name of the god of the underworld, the former being Hades, this became the name for the underworld itself and the name Pluto reflected a more positive image of the god of the underworld.