Vanity Picture

For a long time I had wanted to create a goth inspired portrait. I’ve seen quite a bit of “goth” art drifting around various websites and honestly, I was rather disappointed. The technique was generally poor and the themes trite. Mostly women with long billowing hair standing near cliffs looking depressed with smudged make-up. This, in my opinion, is no where near what goth actually means, and so my dissatisfaction grew and grew until I decided to actually start on a piece. Goth fashion and artwork, should, in my opinion, be about class and elegance, regardless of style.

What really got me inspired was a lovely photo of a fabulously dressed goth woman. Sadly, I don’t have a link, but she was dressed similarly to how I painted this figure. I decided to use her as reference though I did make quite a few changes as well. My goal was to create and image of a strong, gothic female painted in the style of a classic renaissance painting. I drew inspiration from Da Vinci for the use of dramatic lighting. I also studied paintings of monarchs for inspiration for the clothing.

As for the story behind the woman in the painting, that came to me as I was working on it. She is Vanity, one of the guardians of the underworld. She was at one time human, though she was very corrupt and self-centered. Nothing would stand in her way to keep her image, beauty and reputation. She would do anything, including murder. Her acts were so vile that when she finally died she was damned to spend all of eternity in Gehenna. As punishment for her deeds she was given a peculiar curse. Vanity now had the eternal beauty for which she had so long desired, but was without the ability to see it, hence the blank mirror. She now spends the rest of eternity in the same realm, judging souls guilty of the similar crimes, though she, unlike them, has no hope for forgiveness.

I never imagined her, in spite of her appearance, as something currently evil. I think she did awful things in life and began to make changes over the centuries. I won’t call her a “changed” woman or anything like that, but she has begun to understand her own wickedness and had made changes as well. Also, she’s completely fictional and has no actual ties to mythology.
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