In this short video essay, Polygon's contributor Clayton Ashley describes the relationship between the Hudson River School style of landscape painting and the vistas of Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption 2. It's more about ideology than aesthetics: art is not neutral. He discusses light and perspective, documentation vs. representation (manifest destiny), observation vs. immersion (opera glasses as proto-VR goggles), among other things.
As Clayton writes:
Red Dead Redemption 2 can’t avoid a connection to these paintings because it can’t avoid its connections to the cultural history that created the western genre. Or as Wendy Ikemoto, associate curator at the New-York Historical Society, put it in our video, art is not “a passive reflection or document of history, but it is, rather, an agent of history.”
File under: comparative media studies.
Kudos to Clayton and Polygon.