Red Line = Orthogonals. Yellow line = Horizontal Line, Green Dot = Vanishing Point
While listening to one of Ed Sheeran’s popular song, “Give Me Love,” I noticed that the song’s music video incorporates many elements from our Art and Classics course.
One incredible development during the Renaissance was Brunelleschi’s system of linear perspective. His formation of lines and diagonals enabled artists and architects to manipulate images into the illusion of reality. Space, shape, and size furthered Brunelleschi’s success of recreating life’s visual experiences into a still image. When looking from any individual’s eyes, our surroundings are examples of linear perspective itself.
In the screenshot above, there are qualities of linear perspective that can be identified with the understanding of how the objects and subjects of the video are seen. At a close observation, the overhead lights form orthogonal lines (red lines) of the image. The light beams move towards the middle of the photo, and direct the viewer’s eyes to the vanishing point (green dot) of the picture. The tunnel walls also acts as orthogonal lines. As the bricks of the walls move towards down the tunnel, the lines become more condensed, and create the illusion of space and depth. The light’s reflections and shadows also add a subtle sense of distance, because the light and shadows seem to merge together when approaching the vanishing point. The outline of the concrete ground also acts as an orthogonal line that points to the vanishing point. Though the horizon line (yellow line) is not obvious to the eye, it meets the middle of the image as the plane where it meets the viewer’s eye level. Touching back onto how the still image depicts distance, the figure in the foreground is proportionally smaller in scale due to the distance between the camera and the subject.
When directing your focus to the subject, the woman has a pair of cupid wings that is explored through the music video’s plot. The story unravels references to Aphrodite in which we have discussed in Classics class.
In the music video, the main subject is dressed with a pair of wings and holds a bow and arrow. The video’s plot reveals how she takes on the roll as a cupid and shoots others to fall in love with each other. The subject’s act as a cupid relates to Aphrodite’s abilities to cause people to fall in love due to her title of being the Goddess of Love and procreation. The video’s subject’s actions can be compared to the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite where William Blake Tyrrell translates that Aphrodite’s:
clothed in a dress more gleaming than bright fire. Like the moon, it shimmered around her soft breasts, a wonder to behold. She wore coiled bracelets and shining earrings, and beautiful necklaces were about her tender neck, beautiful, golden, glittering (86-90).
Aphrodite’s presence attracts and seduces those around her, and is reflected in Ed Sheeran’s song. In the homeric hymn, Aphrodite is known to be a elegant, lustful, beautiful, and graceful Goddess that is ineffable. Her powers become a strong influence over other people’s actions and emotions, which can overrule their thoughts and morals. The homeric hymn discusses the consequences of love, lies, and sex that Aphrodite is responsible for. However, most references to Aphrodite are usually the immaculate ideals of falling in love and being loved.
Similar to Ed Sheeran’s music video, the presence of the woman shows her duties as a cupid. She travels around the city and uses her power of love to counteract the dark and bleak night. Those alone begin to fall in love with the people around them, however, it juxtaposes the song’s lyrics. The cupid’s inner conflict and idea of love is enhanced by Sheeran’s song, and convey a more obvious result of love that the Homeric Hymn does not quite relate to modern love. Though the central theme of love is carried out by the woman with the white wings, her job as a cupid is not as fantastical as it seems. The subject of the video struggles with finding love herself, and has a inner conflict while she watches her actions help others fall in love. In the last scene of the video, it’s seen that she has stabbed herself with her cupid’s bow in attempt to make her fall in love. Ed Sheeran’s music video and the Homeric hymn portray a large difference in the society of today and the past. Sappho reveals the struggles of being in love, whereas, Ed Sheeran expresses the struggles of finding love.
Vicky Lee, Team Hermes