Sisyphus WIP [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Sisyphus WIP

04-05-2017, 10:50 AM
About a quarter of the way through this one, I think. Has taken me just over a month so far.

M Winther
04-08-2017, 12:13 AM
I love these renaissance landscapes. However, I feel there's a problem with the composition. In this type of painting, composition is essential and must be thought out beforehand. Since Sisyphus should be the focus of attention, the Old Master would likely have placed his head at a more conspicuous geometric point. Now his head is tucked away at a peripheral part of the picture. Our gaze is drawn from the left to the right, which is why the most prominent person is placed to the right at TV debates, etc. Here this problem is worsened by the attractive landscape that effectively steals too much attention from the human figure, making our gaze conflicted. Also Sisyphus's own gaze directs us toward it.

The Old Masters consistently used geometry for composition, such as the rule of thirds ( or the golden ratio (, and would probably have placed Sisyphus's head at an intersection point.

However, you could remedy the composition by abandoning Sisyphus as focal point and instead create a new focal point in the landscape behind. At a distance there could be a prominent scene imbued in sunlight. It necessitates that the figure of Sisyphus remains toned down. But paintings can sometimes be saved by cropping, something like this:

04-08-2017, 02:12 PM
Hi M Winther

Thanks for the reply! I'm actually really glad that you mentioned this. I wanted Sisyphus to look as if he were longing to be back down in the rest of the world, as it were, instead of being stuck on his mountain, and to look as though he may either be pushing the rock up, or resisting its inevitable decent.