John’s head

A 15th century Italian painting of the Head of John the Baptist. Painted by Giovanni Bellini in 1464-1468.

This head is very similar to the one Cranach painted almost a century later. That same mix of agony and ecstasy, blood dripping out.

I love that it’s round. Makes me wish we could make round games. The shape reminds of the platter that the head ended up in after Salomé got her wish granted. Similar to how Caravaggio painted Medusa on a round canvas, referring to Perseus’s shield. Both Medusa and John lost their head! John’s hairs look a bit like snakes…

Oscar Wilde does a similar thing in his play by turning the full moon into a recurring theme.

Oh! How strange the moon looks! Like the hand of a dead woman who is seeking to cover herself with a shroud.

Moon, platter, neck, head. Aureola.

10 thoughts on “John’s head”

  1. Of course you can make round games. Just don’t use the whole screen. If people without wide screens can get used to black bars, then we can deal with a round game.

  2. I think a spherical monitor would be better. :)

    There’s a problem with the roundness, though. Even with the roundness of the painting. Somehow, its shape turns it into an object more than a “window” on some kind of reality. I think a rectangular shape, especially a horizontal one, conforms more with our human field of vision and allows us to imagine that the borders of the painting do not exist. Thus allowing us to concentrate on the image rather than the object.

    That being said, I’d love to make a game that feels like an object, too. :)

  3. You always come up with the strangest art-related ramblings. Then again, by ‘strange’, I mean something I wouldn’t come up with. Which is a fun part of art: many different opinions. Always fun to go to a modern art museum and chat up random strangers about the pieces. 😀

  4. The technique of painting in a circular canvas is called “Tondo” and comes from the early Renaissance.

    Curiously, Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two – one of the early videogames – was played on a round oscilloscope. I’d like to see that concept applied once again. Please?

Comments are closed.