Friday, December 4, 2009

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus.

(The Metamorphosis of Narcissus - Salvador Dali - 1937)

I believe that art is not that which shows us the world as it is. It is that which lets us see a fragment of it through the eyes of the artist behind it. Which is why I nurture a strong dislike for the Impressionists and works from the Renaissance period. On the other hand, Cubist, Surrealist and Expressionist art fascinates me like little else in the world. It entrances. Hits you on many levels, bit-by-bit, blow-by-blow. It challenges your perception. Case in point would be the one above.

For the few who may not know, the legend of Narcissus goes thusly: Echo and Narcissus.

On the left, there is the figure of Narcissus, hunched over and peering into the pool. On the right, we see a decaying hand made of stone. It holds an egg, from which sprouts the narcissus flower. Notice how the two silhouettes are almost congruent.

And that, right there, is art.


Niti said...

I am not surprised to see t hat painting here.
Surrealism draws a lot from freud - and it is interesting to say the least
I am trying to put in my papers for a PhD on surrealism and literature..
If it interests you, try Manifesto of surrealism by Andre Breton.

soin said...

this is one of the stories about which loads of metal songs have come out.but none are vivid as this one.and its the back ground details which are more interesting for me.maybe coz the congruency is too apparent.
there is something highly irritating about modern art.specially the abstract just splash with something in mind.and a thousand people infer two thousand things from it and they call you great.and the artists never let it out they over-appreciated and over-whelmed at

Kirra Serra said...

I agree about the background. I couldn't stop staring and poking at each and every crevice and fold.

Sugar Magnolia said...

This led to some hunting. Two very pleasurable hours followed :)

Arzaletta said...


Leonardo said...

Brilliant work this. Bloody brilliant. I, well, I like Renaissance artists. Especially Leonardo and Raphael.

Picasso's frustrating at times. Some of his works are plain bullshit. And modern art toh biggest fraud ever.

Van Gogh too :)

Alok said...

Okay, wow. That painting is indeed Genius.


"I believe that art is not that which shows us the world as it is. It is that which lets us see a fragment of it through the eyes of the artist behind it"

There is something wrong in these statements. Isn't the artist a part of the world, "as it is"?

That would make his work a part of the current world: an attempt to fuse his conscious mind with the exposure it has had to the infinite world out there.

...which ultimately says the the "world" in itself is a dynamic, shape shifting, self-evolving piece of "art".

Anushka said...

This painting could give me an orgasm.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Niti : Yes. Infact, I believe it was centered around dream interpretation. And several assorted Freudian concepts.

That does sound fascinating. Doesn't surprise me either.

The recommendation will be kept in mind.

@soin : True. Though I personally fail to make much of the background, except the third figure of Narcissus.

Abstract art can be beautiful in it's own right. Kandinsky being a novel example. I don't think all art is meant to make sense. Aesthetics may, on occasion, be devoid of meaning.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Kirra Serra : Tell me what you see. :)

@Sugar Magnolia : Glad to have started the fire.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Arzaletta : You can't use that on me. It's plagiarism.

@Leonardo : I hate Van Goth too. But Picasso, say nothing adverse about! I'm a huge fan. And I do like almost all of his works. Like I said to soin, abstract art can be beautiful. I will prove my point right here, sometime soon.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Alok : When I say "through the eyes of the artist", I obviously meant "his perspective". Reality, and the interpretation one may gather of it are two very different things. Perception changes it all.

I do not see a fusion between the mind and the world as a logical paradigm. If all that exists is the world, there would be no question of analyzing it.

I place my point of reference outside absolute reality.

Sherry Wasandi said...

@Anushka : Ha! I'm sure, Dali would be humbled by that.

Misanthropist said...

I suck at art interpretation. Artistically challenged I am :(

But your post here triggered off some interest. Narcissus has always fascinated me. I had written a poem revolving around the theme of vanity and Narcissus for a creative writing event. I'll put up on blog if I find it :)

JD said...

The attention to detail, the striking colours! This piece of art would've made me turn my head from anything!

It's stuff like this that makes me wonder at how awesomely people can portray their most core emotions. We all experience incongruous thought-processes, but to put them like this, in that form - unbelievable.

Thank you for this Sherry. As Sugar Magnolia said, a very interesting couple of hours have ensued!

JD said...

Incidentally, I absolutely LOVE the time when I realize that there's more tabs open on Chrome than my RAM can take and the processor starts hanging, all on one topic - Surrealism in this case :)

A cartoon A day said...

I couldnt understand the art until i read your explanation! *mouth open* *awes in wonder*

dunno what to say!! excellent or any praise is less before this art! i'm not art viewer(or its exact word),so this one has captivated me!

Sherry Wasandi said...

@ Misanthropist: Please do.
That would be great!

@ Srivatsan: I'm glad to have introduced you to something "captivating".

Sherry Wasandi said...

@ JD: Like I said before, the pleasure is entirely my own. :)

And the whole more-tabs-than-RAM-can-handle happens to me ever so often everytime I am on wikipedia. Or Uncyclopedia, for that matter. ;)

I think there was an xkcd strip about this too!

Alok said...

Well, absolute reality includes all points of reference, by definition.

In other words, you cannot separate "reality" from its interpretation. That a mind can interpret what it can gather is in itself a part of reality.

Your mind is a part of reality, and thus your mind cannot grasp all of it. (Kant)

A mind has some a priori intuition which can connect things, and "see beyond". This is what you were referring to: Dali's interpretation of what he experienced. However, his interpretation and his re-representation are a part of reality too.

Thus, an art really does show the (mysterious) world as it is.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Sherry Wasandi said...

Thank you.

I now write for an audience, unlike then.