Tuesday 14 October 2014

The best chess painting

It is a bit of a surprise to me that the question of the 'best' chess painting is a topic that does not come up to often. Having a look around the net I saw the odd discussion, but no one offering a definitive list.
Of course one of the issues is how you define a 'chess' painting. My general definition would be any picture with a chess board, game or even a piece in it, but a stricter definition might require chess to be a central theme or motif in the picture.
One picture I cam across which meets the latter definition is "Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare playing chess" by Karel van Mander.  There appears to be a degree of academic debate about what the painting represents, with the consensus being it is symbolic of the rivalry between the two playwrights.
So while this picture may not be the 'best' in terms of ascetics or fame , both the style (which I like), and the subject matter still make it a standout for me.

1 comment:

siow, weng nian said...

Shaun, The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog has an ongoing series in Chess in Art (http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.com.au/2006/10/chess-in-art-index.html)
You may find something there of better aesthetic quality?