Art Kaleidoscope

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Category Archive: Code

Symbolic Death of Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais

Symbolic Death of Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais

Detail of painting by English Pre-Raphaelite artist. Symbolic Death of Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais (8 June 1829 – 13 August 1896)

Symbolic Death of Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais

Known as “Ophelia” or “Death of Ophelia” (1851-1852) – a picture of the English Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais, completed by him in 1852. At the heart of the picture is the plot of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. However, this painting, exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1852, was far from immediately appreciated by contemporaries.
Beloved of Prince Hamlet, upon learning that he had killed her father Polonius, Ophelia became obsessed and committed suicide by drowning in the river. As the gravediggers say in the play, “her death is dark. If it were not for the order from the king, she would lie in the land of the uninitiated.”
The artist depicted Ophelia right after falling into the river, when her wreaths hang on the willow branches. She sings woeful songs, half submerged in water. Her pose – open arms, and her gaze directed to the sky – cause associations with the Crucifixion of Christ, and also often interpreted as erotic. The girl slowly sinks into the water against a bright, blooming nature. Her face has no panic or despair. Although death is inevitable, in the picture the time seems to be frozen. Millais managed to masterfully capture the moment that passes between life and death.
In fact, the plants and flowers in the river – the “whimsical garlands” that Ophelia had woven, also bear symbolic meaning.
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Symbolic Rooster Chinese painting

Symbolic Rooster Chinese painting

Symbolic Rooster Chinese painting

Symbolic Rooster Chinese painting
In China, Rooster is considered the main symbol of the element Yang, and a carrier of many advantages. Male principle bird, Bird of Glory, meaning – vigilance, bravery, courage, foresight, and reliability. Rooster – the messenger of dawn, the sun and the symbol of spiritual rebirth. Rooster – the tenth symbolic animal of the Twelve Earthly Branches (Eastern Zodiac) and in the astrological sense – it corresponds to October, when in the ancient times in China made preparations for war.
In the work of Chinese contemporary artist working in the style of Guohua, Feng Yingjie roosters take honorable place. The image of the Rooster includes a number of different symbolic meanings reflected in the Chinese literature and philosophy.
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Iris symbolism and painting

Iris symbolism and painting

Iris symbolism and painting. Iris Staten Island, Sable Night, Floral drawing by Australian painter Paul Jones (1921-1997)

Iris symbolism and painting. Iris got its name from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, and was named in honor of the Greek goddess Iris, the patron saint of the rainbow, which descended from Olympus to the people in the seven-colored robe. Iris was known to the people for a very long time. The unusual structure of the flower makes it very attractive for artists. Iris inspired artists since the most ancient times: on the island of Crete the mural, located on the wall of the palace of Knossos, shows a priest, surrounded by blooming irises. The 4,000 year-old fresco of iris was found on Crete among the paintings of Knossos palace, built at the end of the III millennium BC. Iris adorned the arms of the city of Florence. The Romans named the town, surrounded by plantations of white iris, Florence, meaning “blossoming.”
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Pierrot and Harlequin eternal conflict

Pierrot and Harlequin eternal conflict

Mardi Gras. Pierrot and Harlequin eternal conflict. 1888-1890 Painting by Paul Cezanne

Pierrot and Harlequin eternal conflict

Pierrot et Arlequin, or “Mardi Gras” – the picture painted in 1888-1890 by French artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). It belongs to the State Museum of Fine Arts Pushkin in Moscow, located in the gallery of art of Europe and America, XIX-XX centuries. The constant conflict between two temperaments – Piero (Italian version – Pedrolino) and Harlequin, traditional characters of Italian commedia dell’arte. As for models, for Cezanne posed his son Paul and his friend Louis Guillaume. Cezanne paints arrogance and cynicism of a quirky and cheerful Harlequin and insincerity of shy and secretive Piero. It seems that dreamy Pierrot is thinking about something else, but if you look closely, you can see how he secretly wants to push Harlequin.
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Chinese wisdom in painting

Chinese wisdom in painting. Pink roses

Pink roses. Chinese wisdom in painting

Chinese wisdom in painting
In the flower language of China, pink rose is the true love and friendship, and white rose expresses pure love, women’s crystal clear soul. White-pink roses seem particularly delicate on peach paper with gold highlights. Signature “flowers of soul luxuriantly bloom“. Moscow based artist Galina (aka Progalina) is passionate about oriental culture, Chinese wisdom in painting, and philosophy hidden in hieroglyphs.
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Juriaen van Streeck vanity still life

Juriaen van Streeck vanity still life. Oil on canvas. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Vanity. Oil on canvas. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. Juriaen van Streeck vanity still life

Juriaen van Streeck vanity still life
For those who love to discover the hidden codes in paintings, any Dutch still life is a real find. In allegorical still life vanitas even the smoke from the pipe is not just smoke, but an ephemeral symbol of our hopes. Dutch still life – a corporeal admiration of the world. Even when the canvas depicts a luxury edibles and cups of wine, they are symbols of death and the transience of earthly life. Dutch Golden Age painter of still lifes Juriaen van Streeck (1632 – 1687) demonstrates such type of vanity of vanities, indicating the transience of life.
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Symbols of Lute Player by Caravaggio

Symbols of Lute Player by Caravaggio

Symbols of Lute Player by Caravaggio (29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610)

Symbols of Lute Player by Caravaggio
Caravaggio painted The Lute Player for Cardinal del Monte, an important patron during the earlier part of the painter’s career. The play of light and shade, with the use of a shaft of light to illumine the painting from the left, is characteristic of his mature work. (Hermitage, St. Petersburg)

First, commissioned by Cardinal Francesco del Monte painting “The Lute Player” (around 1595) was later bought another Del Monte – an art dealer and art lover Vincenzo Giustiniani. However, by the XIX century the family of Giustiniani became so poor that the collection kept for centuries went under the hammer in 1808. Even before the start of trading Russian emperor Alexander I personally asked the director of the Louvre Baron Dominique Vivant Denon to buy “Lute-Player” for the Hermitage of St. Petersburg. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, the most original and influential Italian painter of the 17th century. Noteworthy, his early works were usually small pictures of non-dramatic subjects, with half-length figures, a preponderance of still-life details (which Caravaggio painted superbly), and a frankly homo-erotic character.
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