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Shadow of Love

Details: Shadow of Love - details by Iardacil

Nacht ist wie ein stilles Meer,
Lust und Leid und Liebesklagen Kommen so verworren her
In dem linden Wellenschlagen.

Wünsche wie die Wolken sind,
Schiffen durch die stillen Räume,
Wer erkennt im lauen Wind,
Ob's Gedanken oder Träume?

Schließ ich nun auch Herz und Mund, Die so gern den Sternen klagen:
Leise doch im Herzensgrund
Bleibt das linde Wellenschlagen

This artwork is something very specially for me. You could call it a "fanart" to a dnd campaign I participate. I got the idea for this picture after super awesome dnd session. My character, Yvonne, is a foreign noblewoman, who ends up as an hostage in dark gothic victorian like Empire that has many traits inspired from Germany. She becomes double agent working for her own country by spying after her captors and in the same time, she works for the secret police of the Empire by spying on the local resistance. Her captor or the person who controls her movements is the head of the secret police, Maximillian von Harting - deep, dark and tormented man who has given his life for the Empire. He suppressed his own dreams and wishes when the Emperor asked him, many years ago, to take the job. The job is not easy - it eats the soul, destroys everything human inside a person.  He is as hated as he is feared. Somehow.. in the middle of making Yvonne do his bidding and she playing both sides, they fall in love. It is not a love that can exist in the daylight or that they can openly share. She is hostage, to be used against her country if the current puppet ruler does not follow the Empire's will. He is hated by everyone. People tell there is nothing good left in him. He does not want to admit he cares for her.. she cannot bare the idea that she has fallen for the enemy..

There is a ball. It is an engagement party. Maximillian's son is to be engaged with Emperor's bastard daughter - its a huge honor for family that has no historical ties with the ruling family. It's Emperor's way of thanking Maximillian for all those years of serving him - he cannot thank him openly. If there is one thing Maximillian surely cares about, it is his son. He does not want to ruin his big day with being there and intimidating everyone. He is not popular in court nor he likes to mingle with other nobles. So, he stays out of sight, looking at the ball and the engagement from the distance.. Noone notices him.. except Yvonne.

She is not having good night either. She has become friend with both the bride and the groom but they are surrounded by all the other nobility, no time for their friend. And then there is this lady - real beauty and very influential woman. Yvonne never really understands why she hates her.. but she has chosen this ball to pick on Yvonne. As many other noble ladies yearn for her appreciation, they are doing her bidding - making jokes on Yvonne, telling rumors to openly insulting her. Noone asks her to dance or treats her well. She just wants to escape it all and therefore she stays out of the main ball, hiding from the glamour. And she notices Maximillian.. following his son from the distance..

And when the ball is over, and Yvonne can finally leave those malignant court ladies and their intrigues, she return to the house, where she is held. She feels relieved to be back in her "prison" - huge mansion that has been given to her use. She hears the door behind her, thinking it might coachman but no.. it is Maximillian.. Something of her is afraid.. as she realizes the servants have all disappeared.. Maximillian approaches her, and in her hallway, he takes her to the dance.. There is no music, only in their head. Noone else.. just two souls in the dead of night, full moon shining from the huge window.. They both had miserable ball.. but now, away from everyone else.. they can dance... but only at that moment, in the shadow of night.. as this dance cannot exist as their love cannot exist. It is also only a shadow, in the games of powerful rulers and their plans.

This was a piece that took forever. I found the model shot many months ago and as soon as I saw it, I knew I want to use it. I had perfect idea in my mind but sometimes those ideas do not work out. Original idea contained ornament window and light falling from it. Effect similar to in this piece:

Then I found super gorgeous interior shot of "Scientist House" from Lviv that looked exactly what I was looking for but I could not fit window there. At that point I was getting frustrated on the background and decided to work on the models. Both costumes got many changes. Due to original positioning, I needed to replace bottom part of the dress to come up with missing pieces. The man's suit felt little boring so I also wanted to "upgrade" it. The final "upgrade" was the top of woman's dress as I felt the original does not fit with the rest of the super fancy costume. So, it was back to background and I spent two evening just trying to figure out what works.. I went back and forward with window and staircase versions but they just did not fit (and I spent hours in staircase version on making the floor with tiles fit perfectly.. uh..  so much wasted time). Finally, I gave up on my vision of the background and just tried to find something that fits the lightning and angle of the models.. so I found this gorgeous abandoned building background. It was not exactly my vision but it did fit the secret meeting/hopeless love theme I was aiming for. And I loved working with the broken glass. It was nice challenge and the result looked lovely. So, in the end that was the background I went with.

The song... as soon as I got the idea of the image in my head, I knew the song will be the perfect mood for the background. I randomly found it as originally it is actually poem by Joseph von Eichendorf. And I think I have now listened it hundred of times while working on this image. I think it fits perfectly with my background story and the feeling I wanted to portray.

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© 2019 - 2022 Iardacil
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IsabellaLivingston's avatar
Very very beautiful dress! Great job! Heart 
Iardacil's avatar

I love the dress so much too :) I changed it from original but I love it so much like this

Iardacil's avatar
SireneArcana's avatar
Very beautiful work with a lovely story behind it :clap: 
Iardacil's avatar
HILIF's avatar
Fantastic work!Heart 
Iardacil's avatar

:D Thank you so much

yellowicous's avatar
The details on her dress are breathtaking! <3
Iardacil's avatar

Thank you so much :D

Gejda's avatar
Wow! This is stunning, and the story behind the image is wonderful, too. :heart: I love the poses and the expressions - everything in them speaks of tenderness. The dress is also fantastic - I love all these details! 
Iardacil's avatar

Thanks. I was lucky to find very good starting stock and from there on, it was building on it - adding details and getting closer to my vision what I had in my head when I started with this image.. :)

KatitziArt's avatar
Very beautiful :blowkiss: :clap:  :hug:
kuzy62's avatar
Iardacil's avatar
theAllex's avatar
This gave me life :D such a beautiful composition, colors, lighting. Definitely one of you best works!
Iardacil's avatar

I am supper happy with the result too. I always love working with lightning

EmpressTamaraRose's avatar
Stunning.. and her dress.. is to die for !
Iardacil's avatar

:D I loved working on the dress. Originally the top was way different but it felt I could make it more fancier to fit with the whole atmosphere

Angelblade69's avatar
This is breathtaking, amazing work!
Iardacil's avatar
:D So glad you like it
NightLight2085's avatar
Oops I meant damm XD
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