The works of classical painters are among the most revered artifacts of antiquity. The Baroque style in particular exudes depictions of dramatic light, color, and fantastical events. But for centuries they have been relegated to two dimensions.
Renaissance masters developed better techniques to add more realism to paintings, especially Rembrandt, but essentially they were still relegated to still life on a two-dimensional plane.
Have you ever wanted to set foot in one of these classics? Does your imagination limit your vision to seeing these paintings in 2D? This is the case for me. I’ve always wondered what some of these fancifully created realms would look like if I could step inside and see the drama play out.
Fortunately, there are a few artists who have done just that. Agustin Vidal Saavedra and Spencer Blanchard have been quietly bringing classic paintings to life since 2019. Works by Caravaggio, Botticelli, Jaques-Louis David, Raphael and more have been painstakingly deconstructed in Photoshop and animated in After Effects. And what better way to animate than these dramatic paintings.
Saavedra is a visual artist based in Dublin, Ireland, and started gaining traction online with his animation of “The Last Day of Pompeii” by Russian Romantic painter Karl Bryullov.
Blanchard, who credits his discovery and subsequent interest in animating these classics to Saavedra, began soon after with “The Swing,” Jean-Honoré Fragonard. But his most impressive work to date has to be animating Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing Delaware.”
It must be said that these animations are incredibly detailed and time-consuming, as the short videos suggest. As someone who has tried and failed repeatedly to stay focused on the simpler tasks in After Effects, I think I can speak for the difficulty level displayed.
Either way, if you like the feeling of inadequacy that comes from watching someone with vastly superior skills, then keep watching these two artists host a masterclass in Photoshop and After Effects. You can find more works by Agustin Vidal Saavedra here. And, of course, please check out Spencer Blanchard’s work here.