‘Light in Shadow’ highlights the artist journey of 17th-century Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi – The Daily Texan

Slipping on a virtual reality headset and stepping into virtual 17th-century Italy, viewers can immerse themselves in the trials and tribulations of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, known for “Judith slaying Holofernes.” On March 13, production companies Fat Red Bird and Monkey Frame hosted the world premiere of “(Hi)story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow,” a VR experience at South by Southwest.

Adding to the “(Hi)story of a Painting” series, which aims to shine a light on the stories of artists who are usually erased from history, this VR episode explored Gentileschi’s life as an artist. feminine and her struggles to share her art with the world.

The Daily Texan dove into the VR experience and spoke with producer and screenwriter Gaëlle Mourre and co-director and lead animator Quentin Darras about using VR to share the message behind the story by Gentileschi.

The Texas Daily: Where did the idea for this series come from?

Gaelle Mouré: It is a project that has had a long gestation period. I studied art history and was confronted with the fact that art history is often seen as inaccessible – and is actually quite intellectual. I wanted to create a project that proved it wrong and made it accessible and engaging to a wider audience.

DT: Why did you specifically choose to present Artemisia Gentileschi?

GM: We said to ourselves, “Let’s see why some artists aren’t iconic when they should be. Artemisia has a strong presence in the art world, but perhaps not so much in popular culture. There are a lot of exhibitions (currently) showcasing his work around the world. It was the right time for us to present her story in virtual reality and explore not only her personal story, but also why she is an extraordinary artist in her own right.

We thought (Artemisia) might speak to a wider audience. Unfortunately, Artemisia’s life is part of the #MeToo movement. It’s never a good thing to have to deal with these issues, but we thought, “She’s an artist who has often been overlooked and whose work has often been attributed to male artists until recently. .” Her work was considered too beautiful to be attributed to a woman. Of course, that is changing now. We thought, “Let’s just contribute to this narrative.

DT: How does virtual reality allow you to better share the story of Artemisia, rather than any other medium?

Quentin Darras: Virtual reality is definitely made (to be) emotional (and) more involved. We are sure that for 15 minutes we have your attention. This way we can dive. We can get into details and things that would be hard to get on video alone.

DT: What do you hope viewers take away from the VR experience?

GM: This episode is narrated by Cerys Matthews, singer, composer and author. We wanted to work with contemporary creatives to bridge the gap between today and the past (and) with younger audiences. Also, (to) show that artwork and art history can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone you know, and that great artists come from everywhere.

QD: We tend to forget that great artists are just people. It is about remembering (that). (Artemisia) was both a great artist and an ordinary person.

About Catharine C. Bean

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