Overall atmosphere inspired by the novel "Le rouge et le noir" by Stendhal.
Le Rouge et le Noir (French for The Red and the Black), 1830, by Stendhal, is a historical psychological novel in two volumes, chronicling a provincial young man’s attempts to rise socially beyond his modest upbringing with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy — yet who ultimately allows his passions to betray him.
I've always found to be truly fascinating the concept of duality developed throughout the novel, also embodied by Madame de Renal and Mathilde de la Mole the two main contrasting female characters and love interests of Julien Sorel, the protagonist.
The first one, Madame de Renal, is a middle class woman in her thirties, married with children, spontaneous, sensitive, tenderhearted. She awakens to a new existence when she falls in love with Julien. It is as if her previous thirty years had not existed. This sudden, overwhelming blossoming of her being explains the violence and permanence of her passion. She represents Julien's heart.
The second one, Mathilde de la Mole, symbolizes french aristocracy and upper class. She has a strong romantic nature and pride, motivated only by a thirst for the novel, the bizarre, the unusual. In a sense, she is as much the victim of the reigning social order as is Julien since it stifles her imagination and potential of energy. Her aggressiveness and domineering nature cause her, in effect, to play a masculine role, which explains in part the impression she gives as Julien's rival. She represents Julien's head.
I tried to make this portrait as a tribute to both of the ladies aforementioned, thus embodying in one single figure both the red and black, while staying as close as possible to the reference, which I particularly love.