Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Painting the Hippodrome of Constantinople

Eric Chauvin • The Hippodrome • 2021 • Acrylic on Panel • 27" x 40"

Former matte painter Eric Chauvin reconstructed Constantinople as it might have looked in the 6th century. He did the research, built detailed maquettes, and painted the scene in acrylic in a process that took several years.

He also made a video showing how he painted it. Instead of the usual time lapse presentation, he documents the process in stop motion, meaning he made sure to remove himself from the view of the camera when he takes the frame. Here's the direct YouTube link.

Eric Chauvin • Constantinople at Sunset • 2015 • Acrylic on Panel • 27" x 40"

It may look like he's using digital tools, but it's not; it's old-school, hand-painted. You can start the video earlier if you want more context.
Read more:
Eric's artwork website.
More about the hippodrome painting


Sam Bleckley said...

(Your links to his website don't seem to be working -- and I can't seem to find his site with a web search.)

It's interesting to see obsessively detailed work like this, especially a matte painter, who is already so practiced at getting the effect of reality *without* painting every muntin and mullion on every background building. To me, the timelapse is maybe a more successful result than the painting -- the obsessive process is the star of the show in the timelapse, where the painting maybe feels a little hollow because *everything* is equally focused, detailed, lit, attended to.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Sam. Hopefully it's fixed now. I can certainly relate to and admire the efforts Eric went to for the amazing level of detail and accuracy. I'd love to see the painting up close, in person, and I'm sure the small JPEG doesn't do it justice.

Fausto said...

I am a miniature producer from Italy and I am loving your book "Imaginative Realism"! That's amazing a really a great source of inspiration for me. Thanks :) i would like also to ask if there is a way to professionally contact you, I searched on your website but i didn't find an email. In particular I would like to ask if it is possible to have commercial rights about the creation of a limited edition miniature kit based on one of your artworks.

Fausto said...

oh, if you want to contact me, my email is


Ryowazza said...

I'm speechless.. it makes me want to put my oil paints aside and try with acrylics.
Thanks for sharing James!!