Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Facing North

I found two images this morning which have been sat on my hard drive so long I'd completely forgotten about them. I guess that ultimately means they were a maybe, maybe not, but I read somewhere you should also post failures so here goes!
The premise is simple. A centurion leads his cohorts out from Hadrian's wall to engage in combat with the fearsome Picts, a race Rome never conquered.
I imagine the Picts also had a reputation for devilry, depicted here as serpent cloud trails summoned up to match the Roman draco. The serpent is a Pictish taunt because Romans believed snakes falling from above spelled disaster. These snakes would of course symbolically fall as rain. In the second image the horse is also unsettled by a large skull carved with a Pictish crescent symbol thought by some to represent death (bottom left.)

As a child I was obsessed by the Roman empire, a fascination lived out through my favourite toy of the time, tiny little grey Airfix  soldiers whose even tinier shields were removable - the very pinnacle of technical sophistication in toy design! The fascination went dormant for years but then came that amazing TV series, Rome, which I eventually bought on DVD last year. I imagine these pictures were created around the same time.
The first image was painted in Photoshop. I liked some things about it but when one thinks of Hadrian's Wall, it is always snaking across the landscape, so I tried another composition, this time in ArtRage, which depicts the wall following a curve.
By the way if any important HBO bods are reading this (yeah right,) please please please make a third series of Rome! Click on images to enlarge.