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Dance of Death

Painting, 2009, 105.3×130.3×0.1 cm

Description of the artwork «Dance of Death»

"Dance of Death", 105.5x130 cm, oil on canvas, 2009 p. Collection of the Museum of World Funeral Culture, Novosibirsk. The author of the picture and the story is Alexey Akindinov.
The painting "Dance of Death" is a link in the theme of the so-called "dance of death" in the visual arts, especially inherent in Western European medieval culture. But unlike these works, I decided this composition in my own way. Applying the subjective vision of the world through the prism of style - ornamentalism, the essence of which lies in fusing reality with ornamentation - creating a new, ornamental reality.
In the picture, I depicted a multi-figured composition, united by a certain action, which is presented in its inception, culmination and finale, which is at the same time a new beginning, unknown to a “mere mortal”.
The semantic movement in the picture begins in the same way as the flow of time on the dial - clockwise. In the upper right corner of the picture, there are evergreen spruces, which are a symbol of Eternal life. The chapel and the descending staircase are the beginning of life, both for an individual and for humanity as a whole. The figure of a naked man symbolizes the first person who came into this world. It can be both Adam (man) and each of us. The beginning of the life of mankind and man proceeds according to the same scheme. By a strange coincidence, I endowed this character with the features of Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol. It turned out to be a strange coincidence that when Alexander Ivanov was creating his greatest work, "The Appearance of Christ to the People," he depicted the same character in the same place in the composition as me. Only now I found out about this quite recently, after I endowed Adam with the features of Nikolai Gogol.
Sliding our gaze below, clockwise, we see a staircase along which the characters in my painting descended. This ladder is the symbolic arrival of an individual into the World, his turning to action - life. Among the group of standing characters, I wrote people familiar to all mankind, such as: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky; Joseph Stalin; Patriarch Alexy II; Boris Yeltsin and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The next group of characters is a group of skeletons playing music. This is the retinue of death, which plays along with her, playing the violin. The image of death is impartial and friendly. It is illuminated by warm reflections from the burning flame of the fire, which symbolizes the energy of life. People dancing around the fire personify human action in earthly life. How to keep warm by the fire of life and not get burned? This question is asked by everyone who comes into this world.
In choosing my characters for the picture and their placement on the canvas, I was guided by the principle that death is the final of each person, possibly a transitional link. But it is on the verge, at this moment everyone becomes equal, the former high material position of the deceased does not save him from coming to the cleansing fire. The same goes for political status and religious beliefs. Death closed her eyes, this symbolizes her impartiality and lack of partiality. It is impossible to buy off her, not to dissuade herself, not to recoup her, not to think it over and not to celebrate. Therefore, I depicted among the characters dancing around the fire representatives: politics and revolutions - Lenin; poetry - Sergei Yesenin; science - Sergey Korolev; vocals and music - Farukh Bulsar (Freddie Mercury); space pioneers - Yuri Gagarin; actresses - Mereline Monroe (from the back).
Above and to the left of the dancing characters, we see graves and tombs - this is the final that awaits everyone. Dry trees with whimsical, branchy roots and branches going to heaven, to the young (incipient Moon) is the way, through death, from the graves, along the roots and branches to rush to heaven to a new life, renewal, the symbol of which is the growing Moon.
Small patterns that cover the entire surface of the painting carry the symbolism of strength and life. Since, despite the presence of death, we who live should remember that life goes on and we should not lose heart - everything has its time. It is like a slice, a crossroads, parallel and simultaneously existing worlds. The world of life and the world of death. Small ornaments, patterns with a grapheme of stars and rays, mainly in the sky - symbolize the firmament, the Sun and the living energy of light. Patterns with grapheme of grasses and leaves, mainly on the ground - symbolize the juices of vitality necessary for rebirth and renewal. The rounded patterns applied mainly to the figures of people symbolize the roots of this connection with our ancestors and their philosophical experience ...
The picture was painted by me specially for the order of the Novosibirsk Museum of World Funeral Culture, its director - Sergei Borisovich Yakushin.
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape, Genre scene, Fantasy, Religious scene, Mythological scene, Allegorical scene, Historical scene

Style of art: Baroque, Gothic, Classicism, Art Nouveau, Realism, Rococo, Ornamentalism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 2009

Size: 105.3×130.3×0.1 cm