Thursday, March 11, 2010

Course of Empire

While doing my readings on the wilderness, I came across a reference to a series of paintings done by the American artist Thomas Cole. This series, entitled "Course of Empire," depicts the rise and fall of an imaginary city over the course of five paintings, each showing the city at a different stage in its development. The city is merely a symbol of civilization on the whole, and Cole's series reflects popular American opinon at the time of its creation (1833-1836).

The series had a sizeable impact on my decision to swap campaign worlds. Not only are they wonderful pieces of art, but they inspire me to explore that very same topic of the rise and demise of culture.

The Savage State

The Savage State

The Arcadian or Pastoral State

The Arcadian or Pastoral State

The Consummation of Empire

The Consummation of Empire
The Destruction of Empire

The Destruction of Empire
Desolation

Desolation

9 comments:

Eric Orchard said...

Wonderful post! I'm impressed with the range of sources you can draw inspiration from.

MercerMachine said...

Really, really great (this and the last post).

I'm slowly opening up to art as inspiration myself (having realized my main weakness as DM is in description). Any suggestions?

Eric Orchard said...

Can I recommend The Spectrum annual of fantastic art? Awesome collection of genre art.

http://www.spectrumfantasticart.com/

http://tinyurl.com/ychromc

(and not just because I'm in it!)

Michael Curtis said...

Check out the etchings of Giovanni Piranesi. I don't think any gamer can view them and not walk away inspired.

LordVreeg said...

Thank you.
Nice to be reminded of the great sources of campaign inspiration.

The next question, is what is musuic and art like within the campaign, and what music ispires you...

Timeshadows said...

Beautiful, especially the last one.

BigFella said...

Very cool!

And image number five is where you see a little party of adventurers tethering their mules, lighting their torches, and getting ready to see what silverware got left behind.

TimmyD said...

If that doesn't fire the imagination, and ignite ideas for world-building, then I don't know what will.

Fantastic find!

MercerMachine said...

@Michael: You're absolutely right. Piranesi is brilliant. Thank you.

@Eric: You're not bad yerself!