Painting of the month || Tabloul lunii

ahasuerus-at-the-end-of-the-world-adolph-hiremy-hirschl

“Ahasuerus at the End of the World” by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl. 

Date: 1888. Technique: Oil on canvas, 55 x 90 in. Private collection.

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (Timișoara, 1860– Rome, 1933) was a Hungarian artist known for historical and mythological painting, particularly of subjects pertaining to ancient Rome. Some of his major history paintings have been lost, and many of his smaller works were retained by his heirs until the early 1980s. Although he was one of the most successful artists of fin-de-siècle Vienna, these circumstances, along with the rise of Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secessionists, put his reputation in eclipse. (source Wikipedia)

I decided to make another post about a lesser known artist, and the more I come across such examples the more I wonder how many other astounding works are unjustly ignored or lost.  The painting that brought Hiremy to my attention was the beauty which you can see above.

Isn’t this one of the most chilling, mystical and gut-punching fantastical paintings you have ever seen? I can literally feel the atmosphere, the cold and the sadness of the place every time I look at it! And the light and the pain of the old man… *tears of awe*

“Ahasuerus at the end of the world” depicts the legend of The Wandering Jew, a tale commonly spread throughout Europe during the 13th century and found in the literature and folklore of many countries: the USA and Latin American countries, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Romania, UK, France, the Netherlands and Uzbekistan.

The legend says that The Wandering Jew was one of the Jews who mocked and hit Christ on His way to Crucifixion on Golgota. He was cursed to never die and walk the earth until Christ’s Second Coming. In Heremy’s painting he is depicted as blind old man, suffering and barely carrying his feet, “the last man in the polar wilderness, caught between the angel of hope and the specter of death. Before him lies a fallen female figure, the personification of dead humanity, as crows circle ominously“. (From Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney)

Although I was not familiar with this legend before coming across Heremy’s painting, from a Christian point of view, I can definitely see deep meaning and symbolism in it. The name of the Jew and his occupation vary from country to country but they are not important. Ahasuerus is not an individual, as one might argue that there were dozens of other Jews who also taunted Christ, but he is a symbol, a symbol not only of the disbelief of one particular people, but of the entire world. Here he is, given an eternal life, the disbeliever sees with his own eyes the rise and fall of empires, the birth and death of glorious men, wars, peace, joy and sorrow, and in its entirety the transiency of the world – the dead body of the young woman at his feet.  All is perishable and all ends with Death, but Life and Truth can be found, and those who choose it will not face Death at the End of the World but Life Eternal.
___________

“Ahasuerus la Sfarsitul Lumii” de Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl

Data: 1888. Tehnica: Ulei pe panza, 139.7 x 228.6 cm. Colectie privata.

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (Timișoara, 1860– Roma, 1933) a fost un pictor ungur nascut pe meleagurile noastre, in Timisoara, la vremea aceea aflata sub ocupatie ungara, este cunoscut pentru picturile sale cu tematica istorica si mitologica, in principal subiecte apartinand culturii Romei antice. Unele dintre cele mai importante picturi ale sale au fost pierdute si multe dintre lucrarile sale de dimensiuni mai mici au fost retinute de urmasii sai pana la inceputul anilor 1980. Desi a fost unul dintre cei mai de succes artisti ai sfarsitului de secol din Viena, aceste circumstante alaturi de ascensiunea lui Gustav Klimt si Secesiunea Vieneza, au eclipsat reputatia sa. (Sursa Wikipedia)

M-am hotarat ca si in acest articol sa scriu despre un artist putin cunoscut, si pe masura ce descopar astfel de exemple ma intreb cate alte tablouri extraordinare au fost pe nedrept ignorate sau pierdute de-a lungul timpului. Tabloul care mi l-a adus in atentie pe Hiremy este frumusetea de tablou de la inceputul articolului.

Nu este aceasta una dintre cele mai cutremuratoare, mistice si viscerale reprezentari ale unui subiect fantastic pe care ati vazut-o? Eu aproape ca pot sa simt atmosfera din tablou de fiecare data cand il privesc! Si lumina, expresia suferinda a batranului…

” Ahasuerus la Sfarsitul Lumii” infatiseaza legenda Evreului Ratacitor, o poveste raspandita in Europa in secolul al 13-lea si care poate fi intalnita in literatura si folclorul a numeroase tari precum SUA, tarile din America Latina, Germania, Suedia, Rusia, Romania (a se vedea “Sarmanul Dionis” de Mihai Eminescu si “Dayan” de Micea Eliade), Marea Britanie, Franta, Olanda si Uzbekistan.

Legenda spune ca Evreul Ratacitor este unul dintre evreii care l-au batjocorit si l-au lovit pe Hristos in timp ce isi ducea crucea pe drum spre Golgota. Evreul a fost blestemat sa nu moara si sa traiasca pe pamant pana la a Doua Venire a Lui Hristos. In pictura lui Heremy, este reprezentat ca un batran orbit de vreme, suferind si abia tarandu-si picioarele, “ultimul om din salbaticia polara, prins intre ingerul sperantei si perspectiva mortii. Inaintea lui este intins cadavrul unei femei, personificarea omenirii moarte, deasupra careia zboara ciori”. (fragment din “Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter” de James Gurney )

Desi nu stiam de aceasta legenda inainte sa descopar tabloul, dintr-un punct de vedere spiritual-crestin, gasesc intradevar un inteles si un simbolism adanci in ea. Numele evreului din legenda si ocupatia lui  variaza de la o tara la alta, insa ele nu sunt importante. Ahasuerus nu este un individ, caci s-ar putea argumenta ca nu a fost el singurul care l-a batjocorit pe Iisus, ci este un simbol, un simbol nu doar al necredintei unui anumit popor ci a necredintei lumii intregi. Iata-l deci, avand viata eterna, omul necredincios vede cu ochii sai ridicarea si prabusirea imperiilor, nasterea si moartea oamenilor gloriosi, razboaie, pace, bucurii si durere, si in toata grozavia ei, efemeritatea lumii – trupul mort al femeii tinere. Totul in lume trece si la finalul tuturor se afla Moartea, insa Viata si Adevarul pot fi gasite, si cei ce le aleg nu vor infrunta Mortea la sfarsitul lumii, ci Viata Eterna.

Other paintings by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl || Alte picturi de Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl

The Souls of Acheron (1898)

Souls on the Banks of the Acheron (1898)

 

Sic Transit… (1912): central panels

Sic Transit… (1912): central panels

 

"Sic Transit..." central panel

“Sic Transit…” central panel

 

"Sic Transit…" far left panel

“Sic Transit…” far left panel

"Sic Transit…" far right panel

“Sic Transit…” far right panel

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s