World’s largest ‘The Witcher’ mural to become latest wall art to grace the face of Łódź
Covering 26-floors, work has begun in Łódź on what is set to become Poland’s largest mural – and the biggest in the world dedicated to The Witcher.
Although the final design is being kept a closely guarded secret, city authorities have teased that the work has been inspired by a painting from 1818 by Caspar David Friedrich.
Titled ‘The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’, Friedrich’s original work depicts a young man standing pensively on a rocky outcrop; clasping a walking stick, and with his back turned to face the viewer, the protagonist gazes thoughtfully onto a mist-cloaked horizon.
Often hailed as one of the greatest German artists of his generation, Friedrich’s work often involved strongly contemplative characters set against eerie landscapes.
Set to be revealed in its full glory in October, organizers are hoping that The Witcher mural will be unveiled while the city hosts the 32nd edition of its International Festival of Comics and Games.
Spanning an area of 2,000 sq/m, and reaching 78-metres in height, the work will feature Geralt of Rivia as its principal character.
That Geralt of Rivia will soon grace Poland’s third city is by no means a coincidence.
Created by local resident Andrzej Sapkowski, the concept of The Witcher was coined by Sapkowski in the middle of the 1980s whilst he was working as a travelling fur salesman.
A keen science fiction and fantasy fan, Sapkowski submitted a short story into a writing competition run by Fantastyka magazine. Waiting a year to hear the results, his entry, The Witcher, placed third.
Enthusiastically received by the magazine’s readership, Sapkowski subsequently wrote more short stories to meet demand.
However, finding a publisher for a longer novel proved significantly more challenging and it was not until 1994 that The Blood of Elves, the first novel in The Witcher series, hit the bookstands.
Four more Polish-language books followed before the millennium ended, and in 2001 Sapkowski saw his concept turned into a film.
Widely slammed, and criticised even by Sapkowski himself, the film flopped but The Witcher found itself entering mainstream culture when the Warsaw-based video games producer CD Projekt Red released an action roleplaying game based on the world of Geralt of Rivia.
Two more sequels followed, and the universal acclaim of the games sparked a massive wave of international interest: since translated into over 35 languages, Sapkowski’s books have sold millions.
More recently, he found himself again spotlighted when The Witcher was successfully transferred to Netflix.
For Łódź, therefore, celebrating the principal hero of the series seems a natural step to take, and will further reinforce the city’s reputation as a haven for outsized wall art.
For over a decade now, the city has been benefited from the introduction of giant murals painted by a string of internationally acclaimed artists, and the proliferation of these helped the city forge a new identity as a place of dynamic creativity.
Even discounting its sheer size, The Witcher mural will prove impossible to miss positioned in the heart of the city on the side of a residential complex commonly known as Manhattan.
Often considered a blight on the character of the city, The Witcher mural could yet see Manhattan’s aesthetic value completely reassessed.