Kubin's Eternal Flame

Kubin's Eternal Flame
Kubin's Eternal Flame
Anonim

This image was made by the Austrian artist Alfred Kubin around 1900, and is currently on display in the halls of MoMA from New York.

This is a drawing on a paper support and combining gouache and ink techniques for its preparation. Therefore it is a graphic work, which is actually part of a long series of images that this artist dedicated to different stories, legends and myths of Germanic origin. A series that is also titled The Eternal Flame.

Kubin's Eternal Flame

Kubin's Eternal Flame

This whole series is a magnificent example of what the artistic work of Alfred Kubin means, at the same time that with it you can define both his style and his influences.

He is a creator who mainly dedicated himself to illustration, graphic work and drawings, and not so much to painting. The truth is that although practically all of his artistic work took place throughout the 20th century, since he was born in 1877 and died in 1959, the truth is that the referents of his art were mainly artists from the 19th century, and even from earlier times.

Regarding these influences, it is easy to relate his creations to the engravings of Francisco de Goya, or the graphic work of James Ensor, Max Klinger or Odile Redon, and of course One of his great sources of inspiration was always thepaintings by Bosch, a Flemish artist, halfway between the Gothic and the Renaissance.

All this in terms of his style, since regarding his themes, in addition to relating to popular culture, it is also clear that he poured out his concerns and philosophical readings, sometimes as opposed as the theories of Friedrich Nietzsche or Albert Schopenhauer.

With all these ingredients, Kubin evokes fantastic environments in this work, typical of nightmares and the most dramatic mysteries. All characterized by an atmosphere of unreality.

To achieve that, he plays in a very interesting way with light and shadow areas. In this case he places a burning cauldron in the center of the composition, an element that is also repeated in other drawings in this series. That caldera is the center and the main point of light, although in this case that point of light also competes with the large white floating skull at the top of the scene, almost as if it were a moon, and which helps to mark the ghostly atmosphere of the composition.

The heat emanating from the cauldron serves to generate a backlight with the figures seen in the lower part in the foreground, all of them covered by a kind of veil of shadow and mystery. It is said that these peculiar effects may have had something to do with the fact that Kubin worked as a photographer's apprentice, and many of those games of light and shadow are reminiscent of the image development process itself. carried out in the dark room.

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