Interpretations of famous Paintings

I have developed ideas on interpreting art and they are surface level meanings, aesthetic appreciation and literary, cultural and Philosophical Interpretation.
I take paintings of Belgian Surrealist Paul Delvaux, Picasso and the paintings of Gauguin and Van Gogh.

YW4-2780946 - © - Bjanka Kadic

Paul Delvaux Call of the Night

On the surface level, there is barren land, nude female bodies having hair of vegetation, hills and trees without branches.
To appreciate it from an aesthetic angle as a pure work of art, it is an elegant craft of displaying the contours of the naked feminine. The tone of color used is a rich nuance, producing an aesthetic effect. Everything is serenely placed as rhythm of light and color.
Let’s look at the painting from a literary, cultural and philosophical point of view. The painting depicts dream and reality juxtaposed together. Is barrenness of the terrain showing contrast with the sexual awakenings of the woman (the woman are veiled with hair)? Does the woman covered with veil, initiating others into the realm of sexuality. Is the light held the buxom woman an invitation to do the poetry of the bed?

Dead Watching

Gauguin’s Spirit of the Dead Watching
On the surface level, there is a nude young girl and man hooded in black.
An aesthetic appreciation we understand how vividly is the brilliant use of color, the dark and light shades forming an ambient tapestry of a picture of art.
From a cultural point of view, we find Gauguin celebrating the culture of Tahiti. As a philosophical art, Gauguin ponders on the questions of immortality, life after death and the soul. From a psychoanalytic point of view we find that the man is obsessed with a younger woman.

VanGogh

Van Gogh’s Cultivator
On the surface level it is a painting in agrarian settings were a farmer is sowing the field.
As an aesthetic appreciation we understand the brilliant exposition of color, light and shade forming metaphors of a painting of art.
From a cultural point of view we can understand that Van Gogh was influenced by the Parable of the Seed in the Bible. Philosophically speaking there’s harmony of man with nature both being metaphoric as friends.

PicassoGuernica

Picasso’s Guernica
From a surface level of meaning we can see a distortion of animal and human figures embedded in the canvas.
As aesthetic appreciation, we can follow the ingenuity of Picasso to create a new school of painting called Cubism. Art is shown to create an aversion in the mind. Looking at it we are overcome with a feeling of catharsis.
From a Cultural Point of View we can understand Guernica to show the bombing of a town called Basque and the horrors.

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Kierkegaard’s Works of Love

8-soren-kierkegaard-1813-1855-granger

Kierkegaard asks the foremost question: is believing in love possible? Is it physically tangible? Is it an emotional product of the mind?

Kierkegaard talks of two forms, one being spiritual and eternal and the other being spatial and temporal. Divine affection of God is spiritual and erotic passion is earthly, historical and temporal.

Affection of Christianity is non temporal and non-historical. He is using Plato’s concept of forms. Divine affection is an ideal kind of love. I would love to merge Platonism with the thoughts Kierkegaard. Divine passion resides in the Father and the Holy Spirit and can be seen, heard, loved and felt with Jesus the son.
Again Kierkegaard goes on to expostulate that human affection is embraced by the divinity of Christ. He uses a metaphor to illustrate the point: ‘the quiet lake is deep down fed by hidden springs’.
It is a divine emotion that can be seen, felt, touched and heard by the heart. Love is based on the maxim of experiential sharing.
When we try to experience God’s feeling for us we must be in a state of fear and trembling, in other words, being overwhelmed.
Kierkegaard makes a bifurcation of love. There are three forms: and they being: erotic, that of camaraderie and biblical that being love they neighbor. Christ has also said to care for our neighbor.
Neighbor exhorted in the Bible refers to the other. The other is historical entity. Loving the other as a divine injunction is not an easy task. Kierkegaard illustrates the parable of the Good Samaritan.
In his treatise: Works of Love, Kierkegaard exhorts us to love God and love our neighbor. Loving God is the highest form of love.
The author exhorts the poet to glorify God and also pay compliments of celebration friendship and Eros. We can show our love to God by glorifying, adoring and praising him.
Kierkegaard also talks from the Gospel of Luke: When you are calling for guests for a wedding banquet, call not the rich and the noble, but call the poor, the blind, the maimed and the lame. In doing so we are doing God’s Will in Heaven.
Again he goes on to say: ‘Love is the fulfillment of law’. The law here refers to the 10 commandments. With Christ, even if we sin, we have the option to repent and get forgiveness from God.
The Love shown by Christ, by dying on the cross to save us from our Sins—becomes a Binary Fusion of glorifying both the marginalized and the privileged, whereby all are called as invitees to enter the heavenly realm and live eternally with Christ.
In another context, the apostle Paul says: ‘love is the sum of all commandments’. We adhering to love have to obey God’s commandments. We have the option of our sins being forgiven by praying to God in true repentance.
Kierkegaard in his narrative expostulates: love is a matter of conscience. What is conscience? It is the hidden throne of God dwelling in the mind of man. It is be conscience that we obey God and we honor our neighbors. We have to love God with a pure heart.

Love exhorts us to shed of our envy, doubt and deception. Love hopes all things, by love we conquer our sins. By loving God and making a prayer of repentance we can develop a harmonious relationship with God

Looking at Foucault from Apologetics

foucault,

 

Foucault is the most widely read Philosopher belonging to the school of post structuralism. Notorious is his path breaking views known for his inter-disciplinary approach. Sad to say fate got hold of him lock stock and barrel and he became an innocent victim of the dreaded aids.
Here I would like to analyze the thoughts of Foucault from an apologetic point of view.
Foucault makes the assertion that the study of truth is inseparable from History. Let’s look at the statement from a Christian ontological point of view. Jesus is the most famous historical personality known in civilization for his ideologies of love, peace, tolerance and compassion. Jesus as a historical personality forms a realist paradigm of being a referential historical model. His ideology has been abundantly revealed in the gospels. However Christianity goes afar from Historical validation when we come across the divine nature of Christ. The divine nature of Christ is an inseparable mystery. The Philosophy of Christ is enmeshed in CHRISTABILIZATION, a new way of looking at Globalization. So far Globalization has a historicity of being that of economy driven countries. Globalization viewed as CHRISTABILIZATION (Christ and Able) is compassionate theology. There is a dialogic and creative intercourse between nations, a better love of the neighbor, a Greenomics (Green and Economics) for a compassionate and caring environment. The humanity of Christ merges with the divinity and that makes poignant part of History.
The next Foucault perspective calls into an issue the binary divide of madness and sanity. Foucault described madness as alienation produced by the capitalist society. Sanity (reason) is privileged over madness (unreason). Let’s view the life of Christ and his way of looking at madness. Christian approach to madness was one of compassion. It is borne out of the theology of love. When the madman at Gadarene encountered Christ: the legion in him cried out: Son of God why have you come before the appointed time? Jesus admonished the demons and they entered a herd of swine which rushed headlong and plunged into the sea. I would like to ask Foucault whether Madness is a psychiatric symptom. A Christian view holds that madness is cause by malignant demons. A medicinal cure is only partial. A cure of madness made through Christian prayer can be total in healing madness. Asylums now like regimented Prisons should become reservoirs of love and compassion.
Foucault again expounds a compassionate theology in Discipline and Punish wanting prisons to change to institutions of love and tolerance. Foucault criticizes Prisons which renege prisoners into recidivism. Prisoners can be made to do Socially Productive Work and also get their jail spans reduced.
Foucault makes a discourse on knowledge and power. In a postmodern society knowledge is the key to power. Power is both an institution and a concept. As an institution it lies with the government, the police and the big Moguls of industry. As a concept it lies with thinkers and scientists. Power has to become an organism for benefiting all citizens. With increasing surveillance made by the employers on the employees we find a democracy being infiltrated with the pandemic of suspicion.
Foucault’s view on Sexuality is rather idiosyncratic. Foucault claims that we are sexually repressed. This can be called the Foucault complex. Sex is a natural instinct of the body hence it is a valuable artifact. Sex lies beyond the oedipal complex. All come to a knowing of sexuality at puberty. I think that Foucault was confused about his own homosexuality. What does the Bible say about it? ‘They gave over to their lusts: men lying with men and women with women: God gave them over to their reprobate ways.’ Biblically speaking homosexuality is a sin. But again God is compassionate and he is there to forgive and all we need to do is to repent.
Foucault deals with the epistemic rupture that occurred in the 20th century. The major shifts in epistemology were the Darwinian Evolution, the mechanization of medicine, the Big Bang and changes in the structure of language. Does the development of knowledge change our worldviews on Christ? No, not at all! The historicity of Christ is epistemology and the divinity of Christ is biblical.
Foucault in dealing with language develops a fourfold explication of a statement. The statement is Philosophical (Socrates said Know thy self), cultural (Palestine is a hot volcano), and linguistic (all language is made up of signs).

Analysis of the Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

Gunter Grass is the famous German Nobel Laureate and he is reputed for publishing is award winning Novel: The Tin Drum.
The story begins with the protagonist Oscar being confined to an asylum. Then story goes to a previous narrative and describes a woman tending a field. There are anecdotal remarks about Oscar’s grandmother.
The Tin Drum has a special allegorical symbolism. Does it describe a valiant protest by a dwarf against a Nazi rule?
In the Novel Tin Drum, Grass portrays a water front loaded with Quixotic Characters. A wood is seen floating through the canal.
He talks of a War time situation and his mother getting betrothed to German of Blue Blood.
The author talks of Oscar’s birth being an easy one.
Again the symbolism of the Drum emerges. Oscar’s parents said that when he is three, they will present him a tin drum.
There’s a narrative about Photography being placed in the house. Photography for Roland Barthes has two connotations: studium (image) and punctum (the interpretation). It is interesting to note how brilliantly Grass puts the pen, writing the narrative of photography.
Grass uses magic realism when he says the dwarf Oscar’s voice will shatter glass. Is this a reminder of the shocking tyranny and despotism of the Nazi rule?
Grass launches a narrative where Nazi humiliates a non-Nazi and punching him, he lowers his self esteem by calling him a Pollack.
When Oscar was small, he was invited by the Nazis to their meetings and there he was pampered.
Grass’s narrative about Christianity is rather befuddled. He wanted the idol of Jesus to play on his drum. But ironically nothing of that sort happened.

Grass
The symbolism of the drum is contradictory. Is it symbolic, of an ordinary being trapped in the dungeons of Nazi Rule? Does Gunter Grass want to escape Nazi rule through symbolism? Is he showing an iota of compassion for the beleaguered Jews.

 

Analysis of My Story by Kamala Das

Kamala Das hails from India and is famous for her collection of Short Stories, poetry and her famed Autobiography My Story.

The autobiography starts off with Kamala Das sand her family hybridizing into the customs of British Culture. It is interesting and ironic that she accepted European rulers with bonhomie.

She talks of herself and her brother being bullied by whites in school. Is she contradicting herself?
Again Kamala talks of Indian Patriotism. Her father asks her to shed of all ornaments and wear Khadi Saris. Is she a confused soul? On the one hand she accepts British rule and on other hand she displays Indian patriotism.

Kamala has a wounded childhood. Her parent’s behavior is oxymoronic. She describes her father as being crude and her mother has being refined and sophisticated.
It is political irony that she admires Hitler and Mussolini whose photos were being displayed in newspapers. They have turned out to be the worst tyrants of History.

Kamala_DasKamala Das talks of her childhood days of belonging to family of literary cognoscenti. From her writings it is very clear she was highly Europeanized.
Kamala Das is fond her aunt and at her death she found many poems dedicated to Krishna.

It’s an interesting fact that while she was in school, a girl named Devaki wrote a love letter for her. Actually the reality is that Kamala did not know of sexuality till marriage.
Kamala Das talks of her grand uncle who was an avid reader and a collector of books. She also mentions him of joining the Theosophical movement. Is her narrative a fashionable cosmetic? After deconstruction texts are canopy of being interpreted. Claims to intellectualism can be a sham.

Kamala Das recalls her experiences her life in boarding school. This was a time when she got infatuated. She always dreamt of being a princess. Her mind was clouded with thoughts of fetish narcissism. Very early in life she embraced the idea of bourgeoisie capitalism.

It’s interesting to note Kamala transition to adolescence. When she menstruated she thought she was going to die. Her mother guffawed it and gave her sanitary napkins.
I admire Kamala Das for having no color of religious prejudice. Many of her father’s staff were Muslims. When the Hindu Muslim riots broke out, she was vociferously against these riots.

Kamala in a narrative recounts a young man who visited her, a charming intellectual who had a crush on her and who kissed her on the lips. It was an epiphany of coming to terms with one’s sexuality.

Kamala recalls when she was young, she was forced into marriage. Her husband was crude lecherous creature, quite to her disappointment, she being very romantic. Kamala talks of her first night where she was literally raped by her husband.
Her husband was a beastly character. There is one instance where he locked the first born in the kitchen as a punishment and he had to stay there for the whole night.
There is moment in her life when she almost insane. It is quite clear that she was wounded soul with the heart of poetry.

Kamala talks of many experiences which made her a writer. One is her husband’s beastliness of wanting to plunder her in bed. This was a too harsh string for her. Then came the sights and smells of Calcutta. She became thrilled to see Eunuchs dancing in the street. Numerous were sexual escapades. All of her life she was looking for ideal love. She was in conflict with love and confused about the difference between Platonic and Erotic love. Yes Kamala Das was blatant in violating the shibboleths of Kerala culture.
There came an instance in Kamala’s life, after the publishing of her autobiography, My Story, she became estranged from her husband.

 

Analysis of Orwell’s 1984

Orwell

George Orwell the Nobel Laureate is famous for his novels like ‘Animal Farm’ and 1984. Most of the novels of Orwell are dissolving the sugar and spice of Communist Regimes. His writing has fertilized us with the imagination that a communist idol is a fish gone stale.

The protagonist of the Novel is Winston is a bored lethargic character. All his life, his inner consciousness, he exhibits frustration with the Communist regime. The country portrayed in the Novel is a hidden allegory portraying the dead USSR. All the ministries are under the control of the Communist party.

Orwell satirizes the entertainment industry. The industry propagandizes State Ideals.  It shows democratic ideals are decadent and defunct. The industry is a thorough brain washing of personal likes and shifts people’s attitudes and consumerism into propagandizm.

The Novel 1984 describes a situation whereby anyone not loyal to the State gets punished to death. There’s no freedom to cast opinions.  Communism is a beast that Stalinizes and Armageddonizes freedom.

The protagonist Winston is portrayed as slave who is trapped in the fangs of communism and yet wanting to break free. Government offices are bureaus of a monster wanting to desecrate life.

The slogans of the party: Freedom is Slavery: War is peace: Ignorance is Strength are oxymorons satireizing the autocracy of the Communist junta. All theses slogans point out a psychological narcissism, a mirror stage of Lacan, a gaze of a Private-is-a –Public –business and pigmyfies individual into a   morass of mental poverty. The people of the communist country are regimented automatons.

The Communist Party tyrannizes consumerism.  The shops are owned by the government and many a time they are unable to supply things needed by the public.

There’s no freedom to think and explore thoughts. Out of two citizens one is a spy and belongs to the secret police. It’s an irony that there’s no family relationship and in a family the wife or the husband can betray you.

The protagonist Winston is nostalgic of Catherine from whom he was separated for 17 years. Winston is a creative intellectual trapped in the gulag of Communism and he expresses his freedom writing journals.

The novel describes the purges carried out by Stalin. Stalinization is the killing of innocents for the sake of ideology.

The Communist Party uses subversive tactics to demoralize and dethrone the earlier regimes and tries to promote Communism as a God. The wretch of ideology plays with information and seduces individuals into myopia of becoming.

Analysis of 100 Years of Solitude by Marquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marques is an acclaimed Nobel Prize winning novel. I have started reading it and I want to share my thoughts.
In the beginning of the Novel— Buendia faces a firing squad and then Marquez writes in a flash back.

Buendia lives in Macondo village which is a strange village where the villagers are obsessed with scientific equipments brought by the ragged gypsies like the telescope, magnet, astrolabe, sextant and chunks of magnet. Melaquides is a gypsy who acts as a Warlock.
We can’t equate Buendia’s character with contemporary fictional characters. He is a specimen of an 18th century character somewhat like Quixote. He is very eccentric and he is obsessed with scientific instruments like the compass, sextant the astrolabe and the magnets. He is mesmerized with the idea of getting gold from the bowels of the earth.

 
The character of Meliquades can be shown to represent a sorcerer. He seduces the villagers of Macondo with strange scientific instruments. We can see in him the beginnings of a scientific age.

 
Ursula his wife on the other hand is a practical person a character who can be equated to Socrates wife Xanthippe. She is of the opinion that Buendia is not taking care of the affairs of the household.
Macondo village is a fictional idiom for the strange, exotic and the eccentric.
The village Macondo is described by Marquez using an erotic tapestry. To the East of Macondo there stands vast and impenetrable mountains, to the west flows a river, and to the south the terrain was swampy.
Buendia is obsessed with primitive scientific instruments and fails entirely to take care of his family. The warlock Malequades devotes his time with Buendia and nurtures him to develop strange astronomical theories.
The novel cannot be called modern as it has an 18th century setting. Almost all characters in the novel seem to be whimsical with the trivia of the phantasmagoria.
However in Buendia’s wife we find a difference. She is practical and shrewish. She has the wisdom of an earth mother. She is frustrated with the wonkiness of her husband.
Marquez makes a fictional mistake: when Buendia searches for the warlock Malequades, Marquez describes him of having died of fever in Singapore. The novel is set on 18th century moorings and the form of transportation is mules and horses. We have to give fictional license and the ability of imagination to accept the fact.

 
There’s a strange eerie incident where Buendia throws a spear at Augilar and kills him. His spirit appears to Buendia’s wife Ursula. Marquez is playing with magic realism and we have to partake the novel with the truth of a fictional license.

 
The character of Ursula can be explicated as that of being a feminine earth mother. She can’t stand the fleeting, illusory plans of her husband Buendia. She goes out of the way to make both ends meet. She is the proletariat of the mind, a symbol of a buxom productive woman who materializes a realism of approach to life’s practical solutions.

 
Marquez portrays Buendia as a capitalist monster with a mind to live life recklessly and be profligate. Buenda is the symbol of an unrealized capitalist dream and he can be a dandy who lives life without care or concern.

 
Notable is the language of erotic postures described in the novel. Marquez describes Buendia as an erotic beast with the weapon of an animal. Buendia makes love to the gypsy woman in the garden of poetry. Erotic passions are written in musical language.
There is a war fought there, a war between the conservatives and the liberals. The surrender by the liberals and the signing of the armistice is one of pathological of the reminiscence of making a memoir about making a history of nation to war and blood. The war between the liberals and the conservatives is a toxic metaphor showing the blisters of Argentinean history.

 
Remarkable is the passionate romance shown by Colonel Gerineldo and Amaranta. Their love is a manifestation of the Shakespearean drama Romeo and Juliet.
When considering the narrative of Marquez in 100 Years of solitude, the fable’s trajectory is in a linear mode, a start from the end to finish. Postmodern fiction is characterized by abrupt shifts in time, a narratology in streams of consciousness an excessive intoxication with tropes and from this point of view we can consider the novel as being a traditional one.

 
The tropes used by Marquez are all too familiar ones. There’s no newness encountered in 100 Years of Solitude. A fictional avant-garde novel with no clichés, a novel that bears the smell of eloquence all these seem to be lacking on 100 years of solitude.