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Selfish Pieta

"Lelouch planned to stay dead. This was my selfishness."

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Overview and Ramblings

Edit: Compression is awful. Please enlarge to view for full effect. Thank you!

Nyan 参上!!! Those who have been following me for a while know the drill. This is a contest entry. In other words, I did research and I'm absolutely stoked to share it all with you whether you're interested or not! Prepare to read a lecture at once!


If you haven't noticed already, this is an homage to Michelangelo's statue, "pietà," meaning "compassion." It means compassion. I know it translates to "pity," but it was named that back in the day when the word "pity" meant "compassion," not "condescendingly feeling bad for someone else." Let's not get into that cause I love etymology and social linguistics and we'll hit a character limit.

If you think it's kinda weird that I'm mixing anime characters and Christianity, please remember that throughout history, people have modeled for painters and subsequently became the likeness of all sorts of religious figures! Did you know members of the East Indian Company sat for a portrait of a rendition of the Last Supper? Art history came knocking and my inner Hermoine Granger switch flipped.


What interested me most was relationship between CC, Lelouch and Nunally. I wanted to portray a garden that represents CC's thoughts as she chose to revive Lelouch. The line she said in the trailer, "This was my selfishness" (subbed: "But I insisted") stood out to me in particular. I personally think that there's something incredibly beautiful about CC calling it her "wagamama" (我儘). Admitting that she did it selfishly means that she puts a very personal value on Lelouch's life. For that, a homage of Pietà described how I saw the contexts that might have affected her decision!

Lelouch was the one who died to save the world. In that he plays the role that corresponds to Jesus in the original pietà. He dies and then is revived.
Nunally is Lelouch's raison d'etre. The way I see it, he killed people because of her. He saved the world not because he's a hero but because that was the world Nunally lives in. In that, Nunally is Lelouch's "god."
CC was the person who made Lelouch into someone capable of saving the world. She gave him the Geass which opened up doors for him. Because of CC, Lelouch took paths that I think he wouldn't have been able to consider. In that, she gave birth to the Lelouch that we know. She gets cast in the role of Mary.

The setting also has its own bits of research! I chose scenery from Scotland and Ireland as a basis. I rarely pass up the chance to chuck meaningful flowers at the screen -- since the focus of the image is CC, I chose globe amaranth. Globe amaranth commonly means "immortality" in flower language (花言葉). Its name means "the never fading flower" and stems from Greek.  Meanwhile, butterflies in Christianity are symbolic of resurrection. They're supposed to be a motif that appears around Easter, which is... today! (I didn't plan that timing but I do hope that this is, as Bob Ross might say, a happy accident)

Honestly I can't really put into words what exactly her dilemmas might've been. I do really hope that the illustration speaks for that since this description is getting awfully long.

I hope you enjoyed viewing this piece, and thank you for reading!

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Personal Notes

Assembling this piece was something of an adventure. After the renaissance chased me into the realm of dutch still-lives, I clung to a reference of Athena's foot only to realize that the blocky greek sculpture didn't make sense there. Alas. It was too late. I wanted to put more shiny jewels and what not as a nod to Clamp's original, ornate concept art. The composition said that I was too baroque to afford the negative space (haha-- baroque like broke-- I'm sorry please don't hate me). Even now, I hear hints of Roccoco hedonism in some of the color choices and I kind of wish I toned them back closer to Flemish austerity but hey, what's the fun in that? D: WHAT'S THE FUN IN THAT??!!

... okay there's probably a lot of fun in that. Let's do that for another piece.

Thanks to everyone who came to stream and watched me do this from sketch to polish!

A special thanks to my dear friends WittleBanzaiTree and MizuruuDeki who more or less emotionally supported me through the whole process while I agonized over color theory.
And also a special thanks to my senpai sae-midori who kept me suitably entertained while I painted and provided a set of fresh eyes whenever my own eyes went stale!
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© 2019 - 2022 Nyanfood
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Yamio's avatar
I just saw this and gosh I'm so so impressed.
Lelouch and CC looks way too gorgeous. And Nunally's hair hanging down really frames how her presence has such big impact over Lelouch's life and decisions,
while CC is the one who grants it.

The colours, pose, composition is so so wonderful.
The hints of blue and purple shading together with the warm contrasting orange is just perfect colour theroy.
You always mention how you struggle with figuring it out, but when as viewer, looking at your final product,
you can never see that struggle, as it all looks so flawlessly flowed together.
Proud of you Nyan. kaomoji set 2 18/67 
Nyanfood's avatar

Thanks for viewing!
I'm glad it comes across cohesively
I actually can't remember working on this anymore so it doesn't feel like I painted it at all LOL

How are you feeling?
Are you doing alright?
Poki-art's avatar
I really admire you for your thorough art knowledge!
Nyanfood's avatar
LiliHanabi's avatar
Your lecture was interesting and this piece is beautiful 
This anime reminds me of Clamp's X series.
Nyanfood's avatar

Thanks for reading and viewing! X was one of my favorite series of all time btw -- it really influenced my tastes in terms of writing and philosophy and how I present my characters and their ideologies. I first read it when I was in middle school and I fell in love with it and it's never gotten old for me ; v;

Miyapurii's avatar
this is very beautiful
Nyanfood's avatar
Rinworks's avatar
This is gorgeously done 💖
Nyanfood's avatar
Thank you so much!
Frappe7's avatar
congrats on winning the contest!!!
it's apparent you put a lot of thought into all your works, even more so in this particular piece
I wish i could find your brush settings somewhere and study em!
Nyanfood's avatar
Thanks! My brush settings are really simple
just make the density higher or lower . w.
Serendiipitii's avatar
Beautiful piece, thank you for adding in all the comments, it brought this to life for me. And congrats on winning! I hope you enjoy Japan ~
Nyanfood's avatar
Thank you <3
risthaart's avatar
CongratulationsHeart Heart Heart enjoy your trip to Japan Yaaaaay!!Kitty Dance! 
Nyanfood's avatar
AnikiKenshi's avatar
Congratulations for first place! It's such a beautiful piece, enjoy your time there!
Nyanfood's avatar
PeachPot's avatar
I already commented on this earlier, but WHOOHOO! Congrats on winning (I knew you had it in the bag) Enjoy your trip! Be sure to take pictures (I'm so envious) 
Nyanfood's avatar
Thank you again! I will!
Mirurachan's avatar
Congratulations on winning! You totally deserve it with this gorgeous piece. I hope you have fun on the trip :)
Nyanfood's avatar
Thank you! I will do my best to have fun :D
DelusionalLove's avatar
Congratulations! Hope you have a great trip to japan!
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