PetaPixel

See Chess Pieces Brought to Life in These Creative Portraits

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There are a total of six piece types in the game of Chess, and Italian photographer Francesco Ridolfi has managed to bring each of them — in both black and white versions — to life in his creative fine art portrait project “Chess Portraits.”

Chess has been around for a very long time. In fact, the game we play today is said to have existed in something very similar to its present form as early as the 1470s, and the original version that evolved into that game might have been around as early as the 6th century.

But it wasn’t the game’s historical significance or universal familiarity that drove Ridolfi to create this project, he sees a deeper meaning in this battle between darkness and light:

Often, inside each one of us, opposing drives make themselves felt and alternate within as light illuminates and shadow darkens our minds. Black and White. Good plays Evil. Chess figures offer an opportunity to explore this dualism. They provide a set of archetypes that convey different aspects of human nature.

They throw us into relief; they highlight us in shadow and light. Blacks and Whites.

Here’s a look at the series (we’ve chosen to leave out the knight, as her portrait includes some partial nudity. You can find the full series here):

Black Bishop

Black Bishop

White Bishop

White Bishop

Black King

Black King

White King

White King

Black Pawn

Black Pawn

White Pawn

White Pawn

Black Queen

Black Queen

White Queen

White Queen

Black Rook

Black Rook

White Rook

White Rook

Six types of pieces, twelve portraits in all; in our humble opinion, Ridolfi’s series manages to capture the essence of each piece and its duality extremely well.

To see more from Ridolfi, be sure to head over to his website here. And if you want more information on how these portraits were shot, check out this behind-the-scenes video (Note: there is a little bit of nudity) that shows the whole process from drawing, to costumes, to makeup, to the actual shoot.

(via Visual News)


Image credits: Photographs by Francesco Ridolfi and used with permission.


 
 
  • Daniel Conejo

    Be sure to click on the link, the photos full screen are amazing. Bravo! D

  • Rob Elliott

    I found the knight shot to be needless, well done but seemed to be skin for skins sake.

  • jkantor267

    As opposed to clothing for clothing’s sake.

  • jkantor267

    Another “wouldn’t it be neat if…” that really doesn’t need to be done. But it would make a decent calendar.

  • Rob Elliott

    it’s a knight, it doesn’t fit in with the European theme of the rest of the pictures, doesn’t really even fit with the idea of a knight. It’s a Amazonian or African warrior motif. The image it self nice but doesn’t fit with the other images, so it is needless.

  • madmax

    Great work but that comment: “(Note: there is a little bit of nudity)”, is the proof of USA citizens being transformed in shitheads by Big Brother.

  • D.G. Brown

    I know it’s the sovereign’s orb, but I totally see the holy hand grenade of Antioch :-P

  • Norshan Nusi

    When I check the pictures…

    I don’t think the nudity is needed.

    It’s just tasteless.

    Assuming in logic if it is to protect the heart, it should have been covering the left side.

    Which means the nudity is more just to put on some sexual attention.

  • Norshan Nusi

    Then she should be wearing the breast plate on the left side :/

  • madmax

    And so Michelangelo´s Sistine Chapel and The Birth of Venus of Botticelli are all tasteless… interesting.

  • tarena1991

    Seems like a lot of work for hair and makeup and not much for the photographer.

  • Norshan Nusi

    That is different level or art. Or artistic nudity.

    In these pictures there is no WAY compared with the one you mentioned in your reply.

    Back in the days, the painters think carefully how to composition their paintings.

    Not like this, “Hey, put off one of your chest plates, now this is artistic nudity!”

    Two entirely different approach.

  • Francesco Ridolfi

    Hi Norshan,
    I’m sorry but the disc is not a sort of shield to protect the heart. The disc has to be on the right side, as the Amazon’s myth says that these female warriors burned their right breast with a hot copper disc to empower the right arm for the battle.
    I’ve tried to be careful too!.. :-)

  • Jeremy Madore

    Well done – bravo. Where’s the pawn? Would have loved to see the full set represented. Also, the Rook isn’t properly represented historically, as the piece itself is intended to be a chariot carrying an archer (straight line, long range) and not an assassin/rogue (with a shield?).

    As for the knight, I understand the desire for some diversity here – what with the queen being the only female and all – but a tribal/huntress wasn’t the way to go. There should have been a push toward armor or at least less leather and wood.

  • Norshan Nusi

    This is reply I’m actually waiting for ^^

    Yeah I heard about that (was in fact to improve their archery, they cut off their right breast.)

    Sorry for misjudging you :)

    Even thought I don’t really favor the knight photos, I enjoyed the others.

    The Rook looks like from a film….I forgot which.

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  • Tristan Afre

    nothing like a good ol fashioned backhanded compliment

  • Oscar De La Villa Jr

    As a headshot photographer I gotta say the facial expressions are friggin’ amazing!

    @odlvjr

  • jlnatty

    Oh come on. Black and white pieces and colored checked boards are late-comers to the game. The earliest boards were embroidered on cloth and were unicolored. Pieces were often dyed red and green, left natural and dyed green, left natural and dyed red, red and black, natural light wood and natural darker wood, etc. etc. The whole black and white thing was a gloss put over the gradually emerging modern game of chess in European courts perhaps as far back as the 10th century CE. The portraits are pretty (where’s the Knight, BTW?) but one-dimensional. One would have expected an artist to do a little bit more research before embarking on this project.