an illusion of descriptions

Bought a Bruegel monograph by Keith Roberts,

From one point of view, Pieter Bruegel can be regarded as the last great medieval painter. Bruegel was not concerned with achieving an illusionistic degree of finish […] [p. 6]

The funny thing is I dig Bruegel and while I never examined before just why I liked him so much, now I have a better idea. Although Bruegel painted in the mid- 16th century his art was not of his time, it reflects the aesthetic of an earlier era. And while I like most art periods, if I had a choice between Renaissance and post-Renaissance art or Medieval art, I am Medieval all the way. There’s something about the iconic, vibrant figures and landscapes that resonates with me.

OK, once again you may ask how does this relate to text games. Most muds take it for granted that descriptions are illusionistic, they’re meant to paint a picture. But this isn’t the only way to describe something.

Now I admit that many players expect descriptions to work a certain way, and who knows what they would think if you threw a description at them that deliberately was not mean to be illusionistic. Without going into a study of Medieval and pre-Renaissance western art I can’t fully explain the power of these images, but I think there’s great promise in describing things using the same aesthetic used by these early painters, who weren’t concerned with illusionistic representation, but sought, say, a more direct experience of the meaning they portrayed.

While the photo-perfect painting might seem to be closer to reality, I think it’s farther from reality than many ‘medieval’ paintings that are less of a fully mediated experience. Who knows how this translates to words, but there’s a difference between describing something photographically (illusionistically) and non-illusionistically. By non-illusionistically you could read ‘poetically’ but that’s hardly precise. What word would describe this anti- or supra- illusionary style?


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