Friday, July 5, 2013

An illustration from Queen of Sorrow by Sachiko Oba

 image credit: my scan/collection

The above image is an illustration from Queen of Sorrow by Sachiko Oba, first published in 1959. Queen of Sorrow is a Japanese adaptation of Stefen Zweig's biography of Marie Antoinette, this time for younger readers. This gorgeous, somber image is one of the few color illustrations included in the book. The soft colors and lines, slightly stronger towards the queen's face and becoming softer and less defined towards the outer area of the picture, give the illustration an airy, almost dream-like feel. 

The illustration appears to have inspired another artist, the famed Makoto Takahashi, who provided the illustrations for another adaptation of Stefen Zweig's book--again called Queen of Sorrow.

image credit: bisenco

Takahashi's drawing has a much rounder, more shoujo manga style. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find a scan or larger photograph of this particular illustration. This particular biography, published in the early 1970s, is very hard to find. There have been some re-releases of Takahashi's illustrated books in recent years--I hope this trend continues with this particular volume!

I'll end with a screencap I took from the last episode of The Rose of Versailles anime adaption, which immediately reminded me of both Queen of Sorrow illustrations. All three images share some interesting similarities. All three depict the queen seated in profile, seated in front of her prison walls. All three images use color contrasts to full effect: the purple dress contrasts with the bleak, drab color of her chair and the prison walls; her hair, bleached from sorrow in all three images, adds a final, sorrowful contrast to these striking depictions of the imprisoned queen.

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