If you’ve ever tried to research a painter on the net, you might have noticed a paradox: many sites dedicated to historical visual artists are ugly, outdated, and haphazard. A site called Artsy addresses this gap by presenting itself as a clearinghouse of articles and images for the visual arts. Dreamhounds of Paris Keepers might direct their players to it as a clean, modern source of images and articles. Particularly useful for our purposes is the drop-down filter on each image page allowing you to focus only on particular decades of an artist’s work. For a painter with a long career, like Salvador Dalí, you can separate out his 1930s pieces, for example, which happen to the ones that most look like landscape paintings of a transmogrified dreamlands. Digital reproductions surpass the usual standard, and are zoomable to allow you to pick out the weird details in the corners.
I was tipped to Artsy by one of its researchers, Nicholas Sewitz, whose searches led him to the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff episode featuring our profile on Marcel Duchamp. Other dreamhound player characters represented on Artsy include Dalí, Man Ray, Giorgio de Chirico, Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Max Ernst, René Magritte, André Masson, and of course Picasso. Its remit doesn’t cover writers or performance artists, so you won’t find everyone in The Book of Ants here. The site is still in the process of fulfilling its ambitious mission statement, meaning that some profiles are meatier than others. The various rights policies of the world’s art museums, many of which have their own digital efforts in progress and aren’t necessarily eager to share with an aggregator, have to be a big obstacle on that front. Still, if your players want to do their homework in a pretty interface that presumably looks lovely on a tablet, this is a good place to start. The site lets you follow artist profiles, so players can check back periodically to see if more inspiration has popped up regarding the surrealists they’ve chosen to play.
Image: Gala by Melissa Gay, Dreamhounds of Paris
Dreamhounds of Paris and The Book of Ants are sourcebooks for Trail of Cthulhu, the award-winning 1930s horror roleplaying game. Whether you’re playing in two-fisted Pulp mode or sanity-shredding Purist mode, its GUMSHOE system enables taut, thrilling investigative adventures where the challenge is in interpreting clues, not finding them. Purchase Trail of Cthulhu and its many supplements and adventures in the Pelgrane Shop.