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Paintings in video games

GAF, I have a strange fetish. I love paintings and portraits on walls, and I can't resist stopping for a moment to carefully examine them. Whether it's a famous real-world piece or something done up just for the game by the concept artists, I love the ambiance of being able to stop and enjoy a good painting in the middle of a 3D world.

Just last night, I beat Mafia 2. The climax takes place in an observatory, and between slaughtering waves of wiseguys, I took some time out to peruse the photographs of planets and galaxies on the walls. They weren't very high-res, but it was nice to spend a moment contemplating the eerie awesomeness of a neutron star, I was kind of burnt out on killing people by that point.

Another thing I like is portraits of people on walls or desks. I guess most of them are mugshots of developers or their relatives, and sometimes that's annoying when I'm playing a game set in the Victorian era and there's some damn hipster in the picture. I like it when there's vintage portraits of real people. I often feel sad knowing that they're long dead, and never got to play this particular FPS. :-(

Anyway, yeah, it can be a nice mood-setting detail, naw mean? It's something I always appreciate. I'll watch other people play games, running through them and not even acknowledging this shit. Barbarians.

For such a specific interest, it's hard to find examples, but I found a couple of memorable paintings. There were tons of cool paintings all over the mansion in Clive Barker's Undying-

And of course, Silent Hill 2-



assassin's creed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

amazing art and architecture. it was so beautiful it doesn't feel right in a game.

not to mention there are a ton of paintings. in the hidden clues, in buildings (like the sistine chapel), and you can even buy/collect art. they are real paintings too.


Ocarina of Time Ghost Ganon battle is themed around paintings. and yeah basically every level of mario 64. Pretty much every 3d Zelda game has paintings or art on the walls, I remember Wind Waker in particular had some cool art on some people's walls. Also the whole photo gallery thing.
Props for Undying, that game rocks.

Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of paintings in games - usually they clash with the visual design (realistic characters in a non realistic game, vice versa, etc) or they just look like weird low-res posters on the walls. Barely any game has made paintings look like a painting, although Mirror's Edge had a lot of cool modern art in it that looked properly hefty and textured.

This is, of course, a skewed view, as an arts major. If I didn't spend so much time around them I probably wouldn't care.
Lime said:
Silent Hill 3:

Ohhh yeah baby. I haven't played this since 2004, can't wait until the HD collection. I'm going to examine the SHIT out of these paintings.

Assassin's Creed 2 is a good example too. Very cool being able to collect real Renaissance paintings.


In Ys VI:Ark of Naphishtim,there is a hallway with some bigger paintings on the walls.The camera actually pans to the painting when you come close enough to it.
Pretty cool for a game that's actually a fast-paced Action-RPG.
Was going to post pyramid head. There's really a lot of great paintings in the silent hill games but can't really seem to find more.

Edit : Well Lime found some of them!


More from Silent Hill 2:

(not a painting, but I thought it was amusing to have along with all of these other "high art" kind of examples in this thread)


When i first saw the topic, the first picture i thought of was the one from Clive Barker's Undying :) That game was pretty scary/spooky for me back in the days.
BigJiantRobut said:
is this before or after
the Tetra=Zelda
reveal? I totally never noticed the
in the background.

You can see it before -- its in black and white at first, behind
the big statue of Link's ancestor, and when you draw the Master Sword you can see it in colour


People seem to like me because I am polite and I am rarely late. I like to eat ice cream and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks.
Grimmy said:

It's not in-game, but it's my favorite.

That's from the Madonna del Granduca painting by Raphael:

Interesting they added a child though.


ULTROS! said:
That's from the Madonna del Granduca painting by Raphael:

Interesting they added a child though.

Indeed it's Raphael's painting. And the 2nd child is completely on purpose. Read the text next to it and you know the game is heading somewhere sacrilegious.


Resident Evil 1 had cool paintings all over the place. I always examined them.

Resident Evil 4 had portraits of Saddler and Mendez as well.

These paintings were awesome. I can't find pics of them on Google. :(


I hated how in the Sistine Chapel in Assassin's Creed 2, they just C/P'd one painting over and over. It would have made this a really special room if it was actually a faithful reconstruction of the real place.


Schlomo said:
I hated how in the Sistine Chapel in Assassin's Creed 2, they just C/P'd one painting over and over. It would have made this a really special room if it was actually a faithful reconstruction of the real place.
Yep. It would have taken up so much memory space just for that, though, it wouldn't be even funny.
This is OT, but I always liked this touch in Adama's quarters in Battlestar Galactica -- its a painting depicting a battle in the First Cylon war. The way you decorate rooms in anything - be it games, tv, movies - can really help with the world building



Two examples, but I cannot post pictures because I cannot find any and because some might be considered spoilerific.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 - during a meetup in a
    , the walls are adorned in art that is actually the game's own artwork. Awesome.
  • L. A. Noire - during the beginning third of the game you will go to an art museum that is absolutely breathtaking. I guess you can enter the place at any desired time though.


is beloved, despite what anyone might say
I remember in Tales of Destiny there was a painting on the wall of a Japanese lady on the walls of one of the mansions in-game.. photorealistic painting, must've been one of the dev's wife or something.
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence had paintings all over the castle. i wondered where they came from and i think every painting was unique to one room.

Pie and Beans

Look for me on the local news, I'll be the guy arrested for trying to burn down a Nintendo exec's house.

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