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There’s an inherent heaviness to these Thomas Ehretsmann paintings which makes them utterly provocative to look at. Sure, the technical sophistication of Ehretsmann’s photorealistic rendering style may be the initial draw for most viewers, but they continue to look at his work because of the intriguing scenes he presents.

A defining quality in Thomas Ehretsmann’s creations is the intimacy his pieces invoke. Viewers are given a voyeuristic look into the world of strangers, and the natural yet gloomy expressions on many of his characters’ faces is highly empathy-inducing. Couple that quality with the unusually close perspectives Ehretsmann frames his compositions in and viewers can’t help but form an emotional bond with each image.

Those learning how to incorporate feeling into their illustrative work can learn a lot from this French artist.