Saturday, September 14, 2013
Queen's Prize Entry
My original plan fell through - encaustic takes time and money that after a trip out of the country and sixty-hour workweeks I didn't really have, so I switched gears and did traditional scribal. I did want to keep it Byzantine (because, hi, me), so I went with this page from the Rabbula Gospels that depicts the apostles and Christ talking about who would replace Judas.
Not much is known about the artist (or for that matter, studio) who painted the Rabbula Gospels, other than his name was Rabbula. The extant is on parchment (in the photos, the animal's markings are even seen).
Instead of going with this idea and doing a full-blown replica, I went with the idea of past imparting wisdom to the future, by using the first five kings and queens of Calontir speaking to the current king and queen of Calontir.
From the top, going clockwise - Arwyn and Chepe (1st), Cire and Elisabeth (4th), William (Humpk) and Mammara (3rd), Damien and Issabell (60th and as of this writing, current king and queen of Calontir), Asgeirr and Miriam (5th), and Shadan and Erzebet (2nd).
It is unusual to have the men and women in such close quarters, given how segregated Byzantine society was between women and men, and it is doubly unusual to have the women not veiled. In hindsight, I probably should have veiled the women (modesty was a big deal in Byzantium, especially in the 5th and 6th centuries, and there's an example in the Rabbulas of Mary being completely covered, however, it appears that she is in mourning), however, looking at the royal ladies of Theodora's court in comparison, they're about as covered, though I will point out that the artist may be illustrating the difference in class.
One cool thing I found out is that the extant is just shy of 13"x10", or about the size of the perg (which is close at 11"x14", though this was due to being trimmed to be rebound. That was a really happy day, lemme tell you.
It is commercially produced gouache (Royal Talens) on pergamenata (purchased from John Neal Booksellers).
I am pretty pleased with this piece, though I really need to draw the figures bigger to fill the space better.
If you would like to see the step-by-step process, the scroll diary can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/belle-etoile/sets/72157634999333773/
Additionally, my documentation can be found here.