As we move into further into the digital age, the topic of art and media preservation becomes more of a pressing issue. An unfortunate fact of life is that all art is at risk of eventual decay. While restoration experts do exist, not all attempts at restoring art go smoothly. However, in all this, the Resident Evil franchise might have been an unlikely champion of art preservation the entire time.

I’d first noticed this a few years ago when I replayed Resident Evil Remake, for this replay I intended to play as slow and as casually as possible. My goal was to take in all the atmosphere, savor all the camera angles, and simply appreciate the sheer artistry of the game. That was when I noticed a piece of art on a wall, it was noticeably higher-res than most of the other textures.

Then it hit me… I recognize this!

Resident Evil Remake (2002)

It’s a Caravaggio painting! Judith Beheading Holofernes. Reproduced in all its glory, in a videogame.

Judith Beheading Holofernes (c.1598-1599) | Caravaggio

I was pleasantly surprised. The art buff in me was intrigued, and this led me down a deep rabbit hole of scouring the Resident Evil games for reproductions of other pieces of fine art.

I’ve spent so much time doing this that it has become something of a hobby of mine.

Here is some of what I’ve found during my playthroughs of various Resident Evil titles:

 

More from Resident Evil Remake (2002):

Proserpine (c.1874) | Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Sacrifice of Isaac (c.1603) | Caravaggio

What’s really cool is that this trend of using public domain art hasn’t slowed down any in modern titles either…

Resident Evil 4 (2005):

The School of Athens (c.1509-1511) | Raphael

Resident Evil 2 Remake (2019):

This one is a bit unique as it seems to be an amalgamation of two different pieces of art.

21st Century Venus and Cherub by Waterfall (c. Unknown), The Bath of Venus (c.1751) | No Attribution, François Boucher
Woman in a Riding Habit (c.1856) | Gustave Courbet

Resident Evil 3 Remake (2020):

The Flower Girl (c.1846) | Charles Cromwell Ingham
Virgin and Child with Four Angels (c.1515) | Gerard David
Study of a Woman’s Head (c.1780) | Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Resident Evil 7 (2017):

Saint Jerome Writing (c. 1615) | José de Ribera

And many more….

Resident Evil and fine art go together so well that it’s easy to overlook these details. The choices of art are all so perfect in setting the mood of the locations that they’re present in.

I’ve not explored any of the demos for Resident Evil Village, but considering that it seems to take place mostly in a castle, I suspect that it will also have its fair share of art reproductions. I honestly can’t wait to experience the full game and do some art hunting again.

Hopefully, this may have inspired you to pick up some Resident Evil titles and do the same.