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How Fantasy Art has Evolved

“Artistry is an innate distrust of the theory of reality concocted by the five


senses.”
Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

The topic for this dissertation has been chosen to give aspiring concept artists a lead into the world of

fantasy art. With many games being based in a fantasy universe, understanding how fantasy art has

evolved over time is a key area to understand. By understanding how fantasy art has evolved one can

understand why certain themes are explored.

This study intends to explore how fantasy art has evolved. It is also intended to explore what factors

could possibly have influenced this evolution. To best explore the reasons behind the way fantasy art

has evolved an insight into art History will be used. The key areas of art history that will be researched

into are the Orientalist and Art Nouveau movements, as both introduce key themes that are now

present in the fantasy artwork of today. It is also planned for research to be carried out to explore how

the evolution of fantasy art has impacted on the Games Design industry.

Over time fantasy art has changed in many ways. Female clothing has become more revealing with

strong references to Art Nouveau and usage of 'the tease' to lure the user in. This is a distinct move

away from the strapping male hero in armour on a white steed that was predominant in early fantasy

art movement. This partially is reflective of a change in how the role of the female is viewed. Females

are no longer viewed as stay at home, instead they can be seen in places of work holding down a job

along with the males. There has also been a shift in the depiction of females in art since the Orientalist

art movement.
“The artist gazes upon a reality and creates his own impression.
The viewer gazes upon the impression and creates his own reality”
Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

The aim of this project is to fully explore how fantasy art has evolved from armour clad heroes fighting

off threats such as powerful dragons, to scantily clad females utilising super powers.

This study plans to fulfil this aim by exploring how Fantasy Art has evolved over the years, and what

has influenced this change. This will include the change in attitude towards females and their

acceptable attire, to whether the rise of video games have pushed this change.

Another objective is to research into how the scantily clad female character has gone from being the

evil character (seen as a temptress, seducer etc) to a good character (a white mage, a healer or a

wizard etc).

It is also hoped that research will be carried out into how Chinese and Japanese art has influenced the

style of clothing worn by female and male characters alike, and how fantasy art in the cultures

previously listed has changed over the years if at all.

Research will be carried out to answer the question as to if the way females are depicted in modern

pop culture has influenced and altered how females are portrayed in fantasy art. This also leads onto

researching into what has led the change in female depiction. To further this research based objective

various areas of art history will be explored.

Finally research will be done on whether the change in how females are portrayed is mainly male
based, or if there has been some feminine role played in this change – or whether female fantasy

artists have had to adapt to be able to match their male counterparts more.

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