A term meaning “Living Picture,” the Tableau Vivant was a popular form of entertainment in Europe before photography, radio, or film. A group of models would recreate paintings, etchings, or scenes from books by posing in frozen attitudes on a stage, often with elaborate costumes, props, and lighting. Tableaux Vivants are still created at the annual “Pageant of the Masters” in Laguna Beach – a $4.1 million production featuring 40 art works recreated over a period of 2 months. For this assignment, you will create a Tableau of one work of figurative art, and use it as reference for a new illustration. The illustration will be 11”x15”.
To explore existing artistic traditions and history as a source of inspiration, to examine the role of image reference, both historical and created, in creating an illustration, to develop an immersive composition from a static one, to use warm and cool contrast in a painting.
Choose one of the artistic traditions listed below:
European Illuminated Manuscripts
Greek Vase Painting
Persian Miniature Painting
Research the tradition, and find an example of it that you would like to base your piece on. You must have a high quality copy of this image, at least 3”x3”. The image may be Xeroxed or scanned from a book. A low-res JPEG is not acceptable. Put the copy in your sketchbook. Record the name and period of the piece, and, if appropriate, the artist. Write about what is occurring in the image; identify all of the characters, the environment, and any significant objects in the image. Be specific. Do as much research as possible.
Using friends or classmates, re-enact the scene from your image. You may want to arrange equivalents of the costumes, props, and setting, for instance, using a broom handle for a sword. Pay attention to the lightning of your tableau. When you are satisfied with your tableau, photograph it. The artistic traditions listed above tend towards flattened, theatrical compositions. Work against this in your photo-reference. Strive to find the point of view that will create the most interesting composition. Consider the depth of your arrangement: background, middle ground, and foreground. Present your photos in class.
Based on the feedback you receive in class on your photographed compositions, develop your drawing at the size of the final illustration. Focus primarily on value, and refining your composition.
Execute the painting utilizing the concepts of warm and cool and bring attention to certain areas (push & pull) and create the correct emotional mood. Use Titanium White, Burnt Umber, and Ultramarine Blue acrylic paints. By mixing the blue and umber paints, you will create a dark near-black color. Adjusting it with a little more blue or brown will make it cooler or warmer, respectively. Adding white will provide you with full range of warm and cool values.
When the painting is finished, mat it. The mat should have a second window for a good, clean copy of the source image. Flap the mat with a sheet of tracing paper and a sheet of cover stock.
1.19- Project 1: Tableau Vivant assigned
In class and homework: Exercise 2: Texture Matching Scavenger Hunt
1.24- Due: Tableau research, Exercise 2.
In class: Review research for Tableau Vivant
Begin thumbs, sketches for drawing
1.26- Due: Tableau reference photos.
In class: Review sketches, reference. Work on Tableau Vivant drawing.
1.31- Due: Tableau Vivant drawing
In Class: Begin painting
2.2- In Class: Exercise 3: Expression Studies
2.7- Due: Tableau Vivant critiqued.
2.9- Due: Tableau Vivant matted, flapped, labeled and turned in.