Text over image in paintings

Monday, December 31, 2007

Ubiquity of Text-over-image in painting, to see this natural resolution is required

Painters surprisingly often used to apply text over.
'Text-over-Image' approach was popular with most of the cultures most of the times for thousands years.

In our culture text-over-image is ignored and regarded as something archaic, and as result digital images regularly even do not provide quality to see or read such texts due to inadequate image resolution.
I would suggest that each image has its own adequate resolution making all important details visible, but not more than that. One can call it natural resolution.
When we have images with natural resolution, we can find text over image much more often that we can image.
Here is one example:
Look at this Renaissance dated paintings of “The Last Supper”.
At first sight obviously there is no text over this image.

But when you look at this zoomed image of a detail of this painting (you need to click on it) – you can see that each apostle is named, but Judah.
Naming is equivalent of bringing object to a viewer or to eternity or both, as if they are the same.
Everything important to paint is important to name.

Click the picture to see annotations
Detail of the same painting Last Supper S.Petrus S.Johan Only one unnamed  - Judah

Detail of the same painting Last Supper
What is image annotation?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sumerian cylinder seal (2100 b.c.): image and cuneiform text

Click the picture to see annotations
Sumerian cylinder seal (2100 b.c.) depicts procession into the presence of god, cuneiform text at the right side Cuneiform text
Sumerian cylinder seal (2100 b.c.) depicts procession into the presence of god, cuneiform text at the right side
What is image annotation?
Probably earliest literate culture was Sumer in Mesopotamia.
In the image in this post picture is part of combined image text presentation.
This approach with Text over Image was popular with most cultures most of the time for thousands years.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Ancient Egypt: Text and Image Integration

Ancient Egyptian art had the deepest integration of text and image. Probably over 90% of all images has some text comments, sometimes very lengthy and long.
This text-image integration may be results of hieroglyphic system when text by nature is an image, and image often n can be read as a text.
Similarly in Chinese culture long especially poetic comments are very typical for classical paintings.
Just couple examples (click to see more details)
This is a typical description of traveling through the land of death with lengthy commentaries – popular type of “adventure literature” in Ancient Egypt – univalent of current adventure/horror movies.

Other image shows that even sculpture could be excessively covered with text.
This sculpture provokes strange analogy: Could it be that popularity of tattoos could have similar driving desire to add text to a human body.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ancient Greek Art: example of the text over image - vase

Ancient Greek art is full of images having text over them.
Lack of adequate resolution of images hides text place there.
Just once example

Looking at this beautiful vase without special interest most users will not find any text.
Nevertheless participants and details of this scene are described in text place over image.
See details: