Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Le Maître … l'homme doré

This delightful video from the Musée d'Orsay is an animated tribute to the master of Victorian-era illustration, Gustave Doré. My own illustrations for Adam Roberts' latest SF homage to Verne, 20 Trillion Leagues Under the Sea, began for me as an extended riff upon Doré's stunning illustrations for The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. My drawings evolved into additional borrowings and references to Harry Clarke and Virgil Finlay but at the core, it was always Doré.

The connection between Doré and Verne is very strong and worth studying, both of them were masters of the theatre. Doré's handling of arbitrary light sources and deep volumes, combined with the hypnotic surface attraction of perfectly handled crosshatching is a precise visual translation of Verne's own use of detailed set design and theatrical plotting.

At the heart of the Mysterious Island, that's where Gustave and Jules and Danny Defoe are relaxing in their hammocks, drinking Friday's latest batch of home-made plonk and cheering on Adam Roberts in his latter-day Vernian crusade!


  1. Thanks you, Mr. Olson. And happy belated birthday. Readers should be aware that Mr. Olson's Encyclopaedia of Hell is the one book you cannot show your mother. So what are you waiting for?

  2. Not only you and Henry Holiday like and liked Gustave Doré, also Gustave Doré liked Gustave Doré: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/goetzkluge/18651737/

  3. Indeed, Götz, stealing from oneself is the highest compliment an artist can pay to … themselves.