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The Birthday of the Infanta by suburbanbeatnik The Birthday of the Infanta by suburbanbeatnik
I just finished this for my agent's spring mailing. It depicts a scene from Oscar Wilde's classic story, "The Birthday of the Infanta," which can be read here. [link]

It's a very depressing story, as are most of Wilde's fairy tales, but the visuals are so striking- mainly, the contrast between the blond infanta and the poor dwarf- that I've been wanting to illustrate it for ages.
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:iconemmetearwax:
EmmetEarwax Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
It looks like a work by Velasquez.
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:iconwertyla:
Wertyla Featured By Owner May 19, 2015  Professional Photographer
Interesting! What a great picture! I vaguely remember reading that story... It came in a book along with "The Picture of Dorian Gray", "The Happy Prince", and "Lord Arthur Saville's Crime".
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Oscar Wilde wrote some amazing (and amazingly sad) fairy tales. 
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:iconwertyla:
Wertyla Featured By Owner May 3, 2016  Professional Photographer
Some of them had interesting twists, as well, like "Lord Arthur Saville's Crime". (Spoiler warning if you haven't read it...) Lord Arthur starts off the story by having his palm read, and the fortune teller grows frightened and says that Lord Arthur is destined to be a murderer. So, he spends most of the story trying to kill people off, and failing every time, and then he sees the fortune teller on a bridge over the Thames on a dark and lonely night... and pushes him off, fulfilling the prediction. Funnily enough, the fortune teller is later said to have committed suicide and is also denounced as a fraud (which goes to show that not all the news we hear is entirely accurate).
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 3, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
That sounds great! I haven't read that story yet. I should... 
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:iconmeluzina:
Meluzina Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2014
Simply wonderful! I really like this tale, sad, but so beautiful, and the picture is perfectly done.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:icontherandomerwhofaves:
TheRandomerWhoFaves Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
he falls in love with her but she laghs at him for being ugly...*skips a million pages* then he sees his reflection (never seen wut he looks like before, btw) and realises that she was laghing at him cos he wuz ugly, and he dies of a broken heart. read it though, its not very long and very descriptive to give you an idea of what its actually like. (unlike me)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yup, that's the story. It's well written but really depressing.
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:icontherandomerwhofaves:
TheRandomerWhoFaves Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i know.... *bawls her eyes out*
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:icontherandomerwhofaves:
TheRandomerWhoFaves Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
no twas a reply for redpassion..............
:below::below::below:
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:icontherandomerwhofaves:
TheRandomerWhoFaves Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i need to write an essay on this, and as google only brought me random pictures of an ugly old bat, i searched on dA, and found this.
this is epic! i mean, this is exactly how i imagined them!!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:icontherandomerwhofaves:
TheRandomerWhoFaves Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
no prob!
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:iconisadubourboun:
IsaDuBourboun Featured By Owner May 18, 2012
I love this painting!!!
The Oscar Wilde's story is my favourite story!!!!
Thaks for your art! You make me a little more happy! :9
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Do you think I should make it available as a print?
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:iconacla13:
acla13 Featured By Owner May 16, 2011  Professional General Artist
Oh, the dwarf looks so cute (he wasn't so much in the original), and reminds me something of Wilde himself; and the young infanta's expression displays her capricious behaviour perfectly. :aww:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 23, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :)

LOL, I guess I did Disney-fy the dwarf a bit. Man, the infanta was such a bitch... poor dwarf !
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:iconlunadarling:
LunaDarling Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011
Absolutely stunning! I love the colors.
That's actually my favorite fable by Wilde.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :D
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:iconantoanette:
antoanette Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2010
Oscar Wilde is wonderful. and your work too:)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconorganicfantasy:
OrganicFantasy Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2009
I love his stories, though the depressing endings seem to be a common theme.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, that's for sure! :/
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:iconladyblunt:
LadyBlunt Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
OMG Yay!!! I'm so happy that the seventeenth century spanish style gets a bit of apprecciation. I'm spanish myself and I wonder why the french mocked our guardainfantes (That what they were actually called, "infant-keepers", because they were the invention of Joan of Portugal, the wife of Henry IV "The Impotent"- The brother of Queen Elizabeth, "The Catholic"-, who had a lot of illegitimate children) if the court panniers that they would wear almost a century after are clearly inspired by them. (though they don't know it, LOL)

Adding to favourites!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
17th century Spanish costume is certainly fascinating, since it was so different from what was happening in the rest of Europe. Have you seen "Alatriste," with Viggo Mortensen? From the stills I saw, I was kind of disappointed in the costumes, because they looked kind of generic and Hollywood-ish. [link] And you never see this period in film! I actually preferred the baroque Spanish costumes in "The Adventures of Don Juan" with Errol Flynn. Even though it's from 1948, it's a lot of fun.
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:iconladyblunt:
LadyBlunt Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2009
Yep! I've seen it , in fact, the exhibit pictures and the magazine scans in that album are mine( LOL). Well, take in account that the director asked the costume designer to "sex up a bit" the women's costumes, giving them lower necklines than what was usual, but the skirts shapes are very similar to the ones of that era. The movie is set in the early1620's- mid1640's, and that's almost two decades before the story you depict here takes place, if I'm not wrong (I haven't read it yet, shame because I'm a big Oscar Wilde fan). The guardainfantes of those decades were usually not that huge, as far as I remember.

Still, you should check the movie. It's not perfect (The editing job is so atrocious that it kind of butches the movie, but that's because they wanted to have the first five books adapted), but it has really strong points: The music is beautiful, the cinematography looks as if taken from Velázquez's paintings, the costumes, though, not exactly historical (I do believe from what I've seen that the men's costumes are closer to the historical references) are gorgeusly done (the costume designer won a Goya award- the spanish oscars- for them), there are some really moving moments (Not spoiling them for you, but prepare the kleenex), and there are some really strong perfomances. My favourites were Juan Echanove, who plays the poet Francisco de Quevedo, and Eduard Fernández, who plays Sebastian Copons, one of Alatriste's friends.

And if you have time, check the novels by Arturo pérez-Reverte. They are great.

If you want, I can recommend you other Spanish historical movies and mini-series, though, I must admit that we don't have a lot of them (mostly compared to the english), because they are too expensive to make, and are usually big flops on the box officce, because here we still carry the stigma of our story being too much asocciated with Franco's regime (who used the historical movies as an exalting weapon for the traditionalist morals during his dictatorship). Pity, because there have been some really nice historical movies in Spain the last years.(With gorgeus costumes, I must add!)

Ok, Long comment is really long! My apologies, I do get really passionate with topics like costume and cinema, as one is my hobby, and the other my future job. Anyhow, if you want, check the pageof Javier Artiñano
[link]
He's one of our most famous movie costume designers (he has won several Goyas), and I adore his work (I've seen some of his costumes in person and they are amazing!).
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
The short story "Infanta" doesn't really take place in any specific time- the infanta is described like the Infanta Margarita c. 1660, but her dad the king is basically Philip II with an Elisabeth de Valois type wife. So, it's kind of a generic 16th-17th century atmosphere, but it's beautifully written. You should totally read it, I linked to it in my caption.

That's really interesting about Franco using historical films as propaganda. It reminds me of what Goebbels did during WW2...

Javier Artiñano's work is really beautiful- thanks for sharing. I can see he's done great work before, but I'm still not crazy about what I've seen of his costumes from "Alatriste." I can understand them wanting it sexed up, because women's clothes in Spain in the 1620s, while ornate, were not particularly sexy. But the colors don't look right to me, and the fabrics look way too lightweight. Plus the hair and makeup on the women is way too Hollywood leading lady. The redhead is wearing her hair the same way as Courtney Cox. I think I'd rather just read the books- I've studied the 17th century a lot, and when I see bad baroque art direction/production design, it makes me cranky.
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:iconladyblunt:
LadyBlunt Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2009
Well, sorry, because I forgot to mention it: Javier Artiñano wasn't the costume designer for "Alatriste". The costume designer for that movie was Francesca Sartori.

Javier Artiñano did the costumes for another pretty interesting movie, "La Conjura de El Escorial", which takes place in Phillip II's reign(now that you mention him), and it is about the assassination of Juan de Escobedo, the secretary of Phillip's half-brother, Don Juan de Austria. I must admit that I liked the costumes of this movie far better than the ones of Alatriste (but, alas, I prefer a thousand times the reign of Phillip II than the reign of Phillip IV speaking of costumes, and other things).

SEMI OFF-TOPIC:
And, about Franco using historical films as propaganda: that was mostly during the 1940's, and there is a really interesting example in a film called: "Raza"(Race), whose screenplay was written by Franco himself(under the false name of Jaime de Andrade) and it's the story of a family of military men (some historians believe that there are a lot of similarities between the family of this movie and Franco's own family), from the Spanish-American war in 1898, to the end of the Spanish Civil War. The film itself is ideologically repulsive (it is a chant to fascism), but fascinating when it comes to its cinematographic qualities.

In 1951, the movie was released again, but severely changed, due to our new relations with the United States (during World War II, Franco gave support to Hitler even wtih troops- The famous Blue Division-, so we were against the americans, though we were suppossed to be "neutral".), under the name of "El espíritu de una raza" (the spirit of a race), despite of being a movie with a screenplay by the Head of State (who also worked on the casting of the actors and the director). Several scenes were cut and re-editted, and the movie was re-dubbed to eliminate the fascists and anti-american references. The remaining copies of "Raza" were destroyed, and there was no exact reference of the movie (only some interviews to people who had seen both movies and would help on comparisons), until the late 1980's, when a copy of "Raza" was found in Germany.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Ah, that makes sense. Because I was really impressed by Artiñano's work on his site, and much less so by what I saw from Alatriste.

Spanish fashion was much cooler during the 16th century... 17th century Spanish fashion seems like it was stuck in this sort of weird alternate universe, it was so out of step from what was going on in the rest of Europe. I actually have drawn Phillip II here: [link]

When I was in Spain a few years ago, I went to the Valle de los Caídos, and I was so creeped out by the giant cross and the creepy basilica next to it. Whenever I think of Franco, that's what I think of.

What did you think of "Pan's Labyrinth"?
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:iconladyblunt:
LadyBlunt Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2009
Well, it adds to the creepy factor that prisioners of war were used by the authorities to work on the works of the site of el Valle de Los Caídos, and that every 20th November, fascists used to go there to conmemorate the day of Franco and Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera's death. Thank God that Zapatero's government passed a law that forbade them to use the place for celebrations.

I loved Pan's Labyrinth, both the fantasy, and the historical part. But yet it's not my favourite movie about the Spanish Civil War. That has to be "La lengua de las mariposas" (I think the english title is "The butterflies"), which is not exactly about the war itself, but the life of a little village of Galicia before the war, and especially, the friendship between a young boy and his teacher, a man with republican ideals. With the end of the war, the people who helped the teacher in any way (even the boy's father, a tailor who made a suit for the teacher for free- take in mind that the teachers in rural Spain were really poor) turn their backs on him because they don't want the fascist authorities to think they were on the republican side, much to the misunderstanding of the boy. That's because, by that time,If people knew that you were pro-republican, communist, anarchist, etc. they could denounce you to the authorities, and you could then be jailed and executed. My grandfather spent a year in prison in the wait of a trial for crimes he didn't commit, but he could have perfectly been killed if the guards had decided to take him in one of the "sacas" (takes out). Every night, the guards took several prisoners to the jail's courtyard and executed them.
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:iconbdevries:
bdevries Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2008
Yay. My Art History classes have paid off!! I'm not the only one who did the side by side comparison between your illustration and Diego Velazquez's famous painting (which it instantly reminded me of!). I feel edumacated. :D

Nice work! I love your illustration style!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm so glad you like. :)
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:iconbdevries:
bdevries Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2008
you're very welcome. :)
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:iconsteffauri516:
Steffauri516 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2008
Amazing picture, I've always loved Infanta Marguerita. Her dress here especially pulls off the description in the story.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I tried to keep the illustration true to Oscar Wilde's descriptions. Even though I've forgotten by now what they are... ;P
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:iconsteffauri516:
Steffauri516 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2008
Well you did an excellent job. And I LOOOVE Baroque fashions! ♥
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks, I love them too! :)
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:icondfnoble:
DFNoble Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2008
The costumes and the designs are fabulous. The Infanta is trying to point a naughty finger, though she seems to delight in him. The little girl seems very amused.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! Have you read the original story?
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:iconbayho:
Bayho Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2008
COOL! It's like Velasquez
s, "Las Meninas" :)
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:iconelenatria:
ElenaTria Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
OMG Oscar Wilde! :faint:
One of his BEST stories. I like it being sad and bitter, it's my kind of story. ;P
Besides, life's like that. :shrug: :D
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks- I'm glad you like it! :)
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:iconelenatria:
ElenaTria Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
:D :D :heart:
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:iconcarolehumphreys:
CaroleHumphreys Featured By Owner May 19, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
It's wonderful :heart:
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:iconladyember:
LadyEmber Featured By Owner May 10, 2008
Oh god! I love this picture and the expression of it. But however the story made me cry so badly...
But in a good way it means he was abel to express his point. Oscar must have had quiet an imagination...

I will fave this it's just beautiful!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 15, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks- I'm so glad you like it! Oscar really could write tragedy so beautifully. "The Happy Prince" and "The Selfish Giant" are two of my personal favorites- I always cry when I read those.
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:iconmidenian-lostie:
midenian-lostie Featured By Owner May 7, 2008
Okay, I've put up the challenge for your artwork on costume_stills. :) You can see it here: [link]

Let me know if you'd like any changes put in.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 7, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
It looks fantastic- thank you so much! If you could mention my name within the LJ entry- for example, "the art of Suburbanbeatnik, aka Joanne Renaud"- that would be great. I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!

(I don't suppose you'd be interested in putting "Mme de Montespan" or "Henrietta Anne Stuart" in there? I'm always telling people here on dA that the 17th century needs more love.)
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:iconmidenian-lostie:
midenian-lostie Featured By Owner May 7, 2008
Oh--sorry, the link I gave was the cut, so it didn't show the top of the entry (here: [link]). So, yes, you are linked within the entry. :)

I'm going to keep it at the even ten, and since I've already got it up I think I'll just stick with these images. :/ Sorry! I can't wait to see what folks come up with. :)
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