Choose a language
Use Arthive in the language you prefer
Sign up
Create an account
Register to use Arthive functionality to the maximum


Painting, 1938

Description of the artwork «Phenomenon»

A forerunner of surrealism because of the Kaluga region opens to the viewer the layers of new understanding of painting. And not only art but also of human nature, its depths, its connection with the timeless and illusory. This cosmic philosophy is embodied in the triptych "the Hell, purgatory and Paradise", of which we can only see the first two parts.

"Phenomenon" hell. And at first glance it is a haphazard jumble of images reminiscent of Bosch and his "Garden of earthly delights", with the same alarming sincerity and unnatural. But if the subjects of Bosch's no stranger to some of the sarcasm, the renowned hell really a place of eternal torment.

The composition at first seems confusing, but actually it is inherent in the structure of the pyramid, each row of which carries its meaning and the color of the load. Ice blocks — the top of the pyramid, towering over the teeming hell, framed by the sea and American skyscrapers. Each color range is filled with people, fantastic images and mini-stories. Ice pyramid below transformed into Egypt, the foot of which resembles a parched desert, lined with human heads.

The next number is the tents and people, it's pointless dragging stone blocks. Here and dead bodies, scenes of burial, absurd tennis field, and photographer, finding it all entertaining.

The center blue "layer" - is the head on the bowl in the glass envelope. Perhaps this is a reference to the biblical story of the beheading of St. John the Baptist, which put on a dish and took the daughters of king Herod. The icons of the head of the prophet is usually depicted in the bowl as a symbol of divine sacrifice.

The theme of children and motherhood in the middle to the viewer "layer" shown here mutilated, turned inside out. Double the baby at the feet of the mother with many Breasts, lactating woman with fierce eyes, and girls with mutilated telishevsky perspective feet. Terrible crowding of bodies is not talking about cohesion, but only about the loneliness of souls and the complete senselessness of the events.

It seems that the author is obsessed with circus freaks, he enjoys physiological pathology. But the goal of the artist is not only to cause disgust and morbid interest, but also to stretch an invisible thread between contemplating a picture of a real person and mysticism, in which he sincerely believed, which saw his calling: "...I went away from the ordinary human understanding and the meaning of life and man's relationship to the meaning of the universe - so I feel quite lonely. Read a lot, I think all my life in the work - in painting - I like the bridge between science and art - it happens very rarely, here and to my share fell this fate!" writes andré in 1947.

According to the artist, the inspiration, the impetus for the creation of this painting came to him in a moment when he saw the famous bronze door of the Church of San Zeno Maggiore in Verona. Large-scale painting was preceded by almost thirty-five drawings and sketches executed in gouache, which are now scattered in museums around the world. This figures and scenes, most of which later found its continuation in the final plot. These are images created by the morbid imagination, saturated with instincts and with the hidden joke.

Of course, the work Chelishchev "Phenomenon" has caused a strong reaction. And it wasn't in a host of unsavory images and the overall ambiguity of the plot, even for someone who knows a lot about the avant-garde. The characters depicted on the canvas, the audience recognize themselves. Here you can see not only the author with brush in hand, but the image of Gertrude Stein, women writers Alice Toklas, a French artist Leonor Fini, and other life of the author — the Henry Ford. Nude male figure is Nicholas Magallanes, a famous dancer and model Chelishchev.

This mystical painting a complicated history. "There is no prophet in his own country" - the quote is incredibly appropriate Chelysheva, like many who left revolutionary Russia. Admired all over Europe and America, but not the Soviet Union. "Phenomenon" came home under the will of the author in 1958, almost smuggling. The painting was rolled up in a roll and hidden in the scenery of the ballet troupe of the choreographer and other renowned George Balanchine. "Phenomenon" was transferred to the Tretyakov gallery, which was kept intact in the vaults for almost 40 years before to be out in public in the Museum.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva
I like10 To the selection9
About the artwork

This artwork has been added by Arthive user, if it violates copyright please tell us.

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Allegorical scene

Style of art: Surrealism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1938

Artwork in selections: 9 selections