I saw a bit of the new COD the other day. It was fine. Fighting by means of the streets, going silent with a single of these contraptions on the finish of a gun barrel. But then: a marketplace, or the remains of it. And what is this? Watermelons!
Reader, I am emphatically right here for watermelons in video games. Watermelons often imply an individual is displaying off physics – appear at the way they bounce about! – or animation – appear at the way they come apart! (Third selection is it is Yoshi’s Island, but that is actually all 3 selections covered.) Watermelons are often additional-curricular, a small bit of interaction to get pleasure from among headshots. Far more than that, that phrase “displaying off” is never ever far away. Watermelons are exactly where the tech gets to shine.
Demo melons are brilliant are not they? Getting sliced up in Metal Gear Increasing, rolling and scattering in John Woo’s Stranglehold. I would argue that they are one thing exceptional to video games – video games are the only type that shows off in this unique way. But the extra I believe about this, the extra I realise this is not correct. Demo melons have roots that go way back into art history. (Melons have roots, do not they?)
Anyway, this is Christ in the Property of Martha and Mary, by Diego Velazquez. Painted in 1618, it is a single of his early numbers. Beautiful is not it?
I am choosing this a single mainly because you can really go and see it in the National Gallery if you fancy, but definitely any of a quantity of his early operates would do – and a lot of other painters had been carrying out the exact same stuff anyway. Ignore the faces. Ignore the figures and the strange image-in-image staging (Velazquez would riff on this thought for years). Rather, appear at the worktop. These fish! These wonderful scaly fish! These eggs! That garlic with its delicate papery skin. That chilli pepper suggesting trade with the new planet was currently altering the way persons ate.
Velazquez spent a lot of time on these fish and these eggs. He ought to have laboured more than that chilli, and I have definitely no thought how any person could paint garlic as properly as this. And this was definitely the point. In a way, it may possibly have been the point of this painting, and a handful of other people he did like it. He’s displaying off how very good he is with paint. He’s displaying a mastery of oils and colour and lighting and composition, displaying how very good he is at producing an illusion. And he’s carrying out it all with fish and eggs and veg. The issues we all know about, know how they appear, and have specific expectations as to their representation.
We do not definitely believe of artists as getting concerned with this sort of stuff. At least I do not. I want to believe about the which means, what ever that suggests. I want to picture the painting is a puzzle and you have to be clever to get it.
But oil painting was technologies. And artists had been tradespeople, entrepreneurs, persons who wanted to be paid. Painting could be marketing, the way that demo melons in a video game are marketing. Appear how very good I am at this stuff! Appear how close to one thing true this is.
In the previous I have at times fallen into the trap of pondering that games are also industrial to be art. But art history really gets richer for me when I realise how industrial art has often been. You can be transcendent whilst also paying the bills. And at times all it requires to remind me of this are a handful of groceries.