Beowulf Diorama: A question of perspective.

While I was working on my first project, I realized that I was unsure of what angle to look at it in. Firstly, there is the fact that Beowulf is told from the perspective of Beowulf, so we can only see things from the way he wants them to be seen. Along with this, there is the alienation of Grendel and his mother. Therefore, I decided the best thing to do the diorama about would be the battle between Beowulf the invader, and Grendel’s mother, the defender of her home.

Sheer dumb luck that he found that sword.
Sheer dumb luck that he found that sword.

While I was working on it, I had trouble figuring out the title, especially with the fact I was playing with perspective on what is going on and what the pictures focus on. Therefore, I placed the title of each option underneath the picture.

When I was working on it, I used a variety of foam-core and actual grit to form the cave environment, followed by a dry-brush of white acrylic paint by Citadel. The water that is visible in the pictures is made of Amazing Clear Cast resin. The models come from Games Workshop for Grendel’s mother and his magic sword, and the Beowulf model comes from a historical viking set, but I am unsure of what manufacturer.

A fierce battle
A fierce battle

When I was painting up the models, I wanted to convey both Grendel’s mothers monstrosity, with the use of the spines, skin, and talons, but I also wanted her to not be different from Beowulf, so I actually used the same skin tones and shades for both of them. I see a lot of artwork for her where she is a green or blue tone, but rarely where she is pale and European looking. I think this could tie into the ideas discussed on Orcs which we have been reading. Finally in regards to painting, I attempted to make beowulfs equipment look newer, whereas her blade that she is using is actually rusted and hooked. I also made some effects on his sword to show how it melted.

Drive out the Invader!
Drive Out the Invader!

I think the reason that this ties to the idea of why literature matters is because literature has the ability to inspire us to make beautiful things. I love listening to stories while I paint and work on things related to my hobbies like Dungeons and Dragons. I steal some of the best stories from other pieces of literature. I cannot think of anything better than an afternoon listening to a good audiobook and planning a session or painting a model. In fact, just recently I began thinking of the concept of evil races from dnd, and decided to do a campaign focused on them instead of the heroes. So for the story, the humans have been invading the regions of the monster races, and the monsters are pushing against the colonization that is occurring. Now, if they choose to play it evil, then that is how it goes, but I thought about it based on some of our discussions in class.

I also think literature matters because of the discussions we have. I have learned so much already from this year, and I hope that I will be able to take what I have learned and use it in my own teaching career. I know there are several other English teachers in this class with me, some of whom also share my taste in hobbies, and I enjoy the time I get to spend with them, both in class and while discussing our interests. Therefore, I think that all the reasons above are why literature matters.

Don't Leave your Weapons out and unattended.
Don’t Leave your Weapons out and unattended.

Additional Resources on the Concept

Model for Beowulf came from

One thought on “Beowulf Diorama: A question of perspective.

  1. I’ve been so jazzed to see this diorama since you first mentioned it – I’m glad you got a chance to fully realize your piece! The rock textures are slammin’. I didn’t expect so much of this piece (when you first described it in class, I almost expected it to be fully underwater! Which, how the heck would that come out for photos?), and I think the small details really bring it together. Though, in all honesty, when don’t the small details bring a thing to life? Your assessment of literature rings completely true. Wonderful work! 🙂

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