Outside the Canvas Experience

In his movie Rosemary’s Baby, Roman Polanski plays a trick on the audience – in one scene, he shows one of the characters obscured by the left side of the doorway. The impact on the audience in the cinema is – in one moment, all the heads shift a little to the right, to get a better view (which they, of course, don’t; more detail in this book).

In his novel (not the movie) Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that deals with Hollywood’s history, one of the characters (Trudi Frazer) is said to have later received an Oscar nomination for the Best Supporting Actress for Quentin Tarantino’s 1999 movie “The Lady in Red”. When I read that, I wondered “How the heck could I have missed that one?” and jumped on Google. What I found was this Reddit thread discussing the topic.

I bet Tarantino knew people reading this would go googling – and discussing.

In his painting “Las Meninas,” Spanish painter Diego Velazquez shows nine characters directly, and two more – the king and the queen of Spain – reflected in the mirror. But where are they really standing? For the reflection to work, they must be standing outside the canvas. Exactly on the spot in the room of the Museo del Prado where you are standing when you’re looking at the painting.

When we create, all our focus is on the canvas we’re working on. But that does not need to be a limitation. A lot can happen outside the canvas.

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