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Richard Amsel - Art That Keeps Giving...

Have you ever visited India’s Taj Mahal? Built in the seventeenth century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, it stands as a pure expression of undying love.

Sitting on the banks of the River Yamuna within 42 acres of carefully sculpted gardens, a monument designed to be seen from afar, to arrest the distant viewer, to demand closer attention. Walking in to those gardens, it was the most beautiful building I had ever seen.

 

The Taj Mahal - Agra, India

 

Approach and it yields more secrets. As you get a little closer, geometric patterns come in to focus. Intricate patterns carved in white marble start to emerge. Astonishing inlays of Turquoise, Lapis lazuli, Sapphires and Carnelien adorn the surface.

A close ip of varved white marble at the Taj Mahal, Agra, India A close up of inlaid precious and sem-precious gemstones within the Taj Mahal


This building unfurls like an Indian lotus flower, becoming ever more beautiful the closer you get.

Great art can do that. It has a physical, emotional, perhaps spiritual, impact. It is art that keeps giving.

I get the same feeling when I look at any great art and it doesn't have to be a Van Gogh, a Monet or even a Rothko. I experience the same feeling when I look at some of the work of the late Richard Amsel.

Take a look at his 1982 poster for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

 

Richard Amsel's 1982 movie poster for the Spielberg / Luas film Raiders of the Lost Ark

 

A masterpiece of design, it uses elegant geometric principles and bold forms to place our hero and the film's title to the fore. Impactful, even from across a broad boulevard in L.A.

 

Richard Amsel's 1982 poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark - simplified

 

But, step across that wide street and the artwork begins to reveal its secrets. A whole film encapsulated in stunning portraits, intricate composition, beautiful brush-strokes and soft pencil lines. Astonishing.

 

A close up from Richard Amsel's 1982 movie poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark A close up from Richard Amsel's 1982 movie poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark


Just before Christmas, we posted the exciting news that Amsel's work would finally be recognised in book form. A few days after we were lucky enough to have a long chat with the author, Adam McDaniel.

During our call, Adam told us that he had managed to acquire transparencies of the original movie poster artwork. Guess what? There is even more detail in the original artwork than visible in the poster.

Just take a look at his comparison of the movie poster (left) with the detail of the original artwork (right). Stunning.

 

Adam McDaniel's comparison of the original Richard Amsel artwork for Raiders of the Lost Ark with the movie poster.
Photo courtesy of Adam McDaniel (richardamselmovie.com)

 

Great art just keeps on giving.

Our chat with Adam covered Amsel's artwork, his (too short) life and even Adam's own incredible journey to bring the Amsel story to book and screen.

We are very excited that will be the topic of next week's post.

 

Adam and the Art of the Movies team.

 

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