1001 Word Image Description

This lovely rectangular image has an aspect ratio of approximately 10.417 wide : 8.319 long. When viewed in the digital medium, it has a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. For simplicity, I will define the image as being 10.417 inches wide and 8.319 inches long.

The image is composed of a light grey (#f2f3f7) rectangular frame, covering the entire dimensions of the image, at the center of which is situated a slightly smaller rectangular field containing many colorful forms.

This image is a digital file derived from a scan of a color lithographic print. From here on out, I will refer to the smaller rectangular field as “the print” and the larger as “the frame” for clarity. The print is centered in the frame along the x axis. It has a margin of about 0.8 inch on either side. The print is not centered along the y axis: there is about 0.3 inch of frame above it, and 0.6 below.

The frame has several dark grey scribblings. Directly below the lower left corner of the print is written, in loopy penciled cursive numbers, “299 / 300”. Directly below the lower right corner of the print is written what appears to be a word in the Roman alphabet. Upon first glance, it most closely resembles the characters “W a g u i π o”  in slanted loopy cursive, with characters 0.25 inch tall. However, there are many possible alternate explanations for these ambiguous characters.

The print depicts a three-dimensional space: a dark grey (#192123) background, with a light warm grey (#d3d5c0) flat tabletop jutting out into a dark blue-grey void (#161a1d). The tabletop is depicted in perspective, appearing to recede away from the viewer and towards the top left corner of the print. Thus, it forms the shape of a trapezoid whose bottom straight face is tangent to the bottom edge of the print, top straight face is about 1/4 of the way up the print, left face is tangent to the left edge of the print, and right face is about a -50° angle extending from the bottom right corner of the print.

Extending from the upper left corner of the print downwards to disappear ‘behind’ the tabletop is a curtain, like one that would be seen at a fancy old-fashioned theater. The lightest parts of the curtain are a deep red (#912719) while the darkest parts are almost black (#351c20). It is depicted with a velvety texture and four neat folds, as if it has been tied back to one side. Its shape tapers: it is about 3 inch wide along the top edge of the print, but only 1.5 inch wide where it meets the tabletop.

Slightly left of center, upon this tabletop, is depicted a straw-brown bird’s nest about 1 x 1 inch large. Nestled tightly within it are three white eggs. The colors in the print suggest a light source located near the top left corner of the print. If the print were actually a three dimensional space, the light source would be closer to the viewer (foreground) than the background of the space depicted in the print. Therefore, all the shadows are depicted at approximately a 45° angle relative to the y axis of the print. The shadow of the nest is deep black, seemingly darker than it would be in a ‘real life’ situation.

Upon the center of the tabletop is depicted an unornamented white vase with a simple base and very short stem. It is dramatically shaded with black. Like the nest, it casts a deep black shadow upon the tabletop, but also casts a lighter, more bluish shadow at about a 60° angle. The vase is about 2 inch wide by 2.5 inch tall, but over half of it, mostly the upper right corner, is obscured by the huge form that appears to be spilling out of the vase. This form, measuring about 6.5 inch wide by 5.5 inch long, is roughly an elliptical mass. However, its detailed, jagged edges take on unique shapes that suggest that the form is actually the silhouette of a huge bouquet of flowers. One can discern the silhouettes are what appear to be tulips with thin stems and small, delicate leaves protruding from the edge of this form. The flowers and leaves are not actually depicted, but the edges of this form suggest their presence, or more accurately, their absence. That is, it forms a ‘negative’ space.

Though this mysterious form casts a shadow, it gives the impression of being a ‘hole’ in the image, like a window into another dimension. This mostly occurs because this ‘negative’ space is also a positive space. Depicted within this positive space is a landscape: a bright green (#8ecb56) grassy field with small orange and yellow flowers dotted about it. In the background of this image-within-an-image are bright blue mountains (#32a7bb), about 0.75 inch tall, and a sky with a gradient descending from pale blue (#9ecdd3) at the top to pale yellowish-white (#f3ead8) at where it meets the mountains. About 0.6 inch to the right of the center of this landscape is depicted a cherry tree. It has a light brown trunk (#93836a) and many slim, elegant branches covered in pale blossoms. There is an illusory effect here: the blossoms appear light pink from far away, but upon closer inspection range from grayish-pink (#eedbd5) to beige (#f3dccc). The trunk of the cherry tree is about 1 inch long, the branches and flowers (which form a roughly circular area) measure about 3.2 inch wide by 3.1 inch tall.

It is important to note the contrasting moods of the two images depicted within the print. The room with the curtain, tabletop, vase and nest feels solemn. The drab colors feel depressingly objective. The strong lighting feels like an interrogation room. The landscape within the bouquet, however, is bright, pastel and cheerful. It is like a pleasant dream or moment of fantasy amidst a somewhat depressing reality.

(by Izzy Stephen)


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