Art by Arula Ratnakar
Introduction by Rob Carroll
The Destruction of Troy is a whimsical, fascinating example of artistic dedication that captured my imagination the moment I first laid eyes on it. The piece is intricate, yet raw. The line work is imperfect, but this only breathes more life into the piece. I first encountered the image as a post on social media, and as we so often do in response to the transient nature of twenty-first century digital media, I muttered a muted “wow” to myself and prepared to scroll on.
But then I read the artist’s message.
What had appeared on my device’s small screen to be a large, but reasonably-sized piece of art was actually a massive mural measuring ten feet wide and three feet tall. And since the entire piece was done freehand in the young artist’s spare time (Arula was merely a teenager when she began work on the piece) the piece took 1,350 hours to draw over the course of three years.
And if that weren’t enough to inspire awe, Arula then described how a secret message was woven throughout the piece using a cipher she had developed by combining the Fibonacci sequence with sheet music.
I decided at that moment to stop scrolling and reach out to the artist in hopes she would allow me to publish her masterwork. Thankfully, she agreed.
In The Artist’s Own Words
“The Destruction of Troy is a freehand narrative architectural drawing that interprets the destruction of Homeric Troy. There are various messages in the drawing written in a cipher I invented. The cipher combines the Fibonacci sequence with sheet music. The monster on the right of the illustration represents the Trojan Horse, and it is destroying the city. The locks on the gates each represent a different god on the Greek side of the Trojan War, and they represent the betrayal of the gates, for it is the gates that had let the Greeks in.
“The creations floating in the sky above the city each represent a god on the Trojan side of the war. They float silently in lament.
“The city crumbles into ruins.”
Invented by Arula, the cipher combines the Fibonacci sequence with sheet music. Picture above is a closer look at the cipher, which is also located in the top left corner of the full image above. Use the cipher to decode a hidden message woven throughtout the artwork. For a hint, see The Cypher Explained below, reprinted from Arula’s handwrittern notes.
Images © 2020, Arula Ratnakar