Museums and Art

“Ancient horror”, Leo Samoilovich Bakst - description of the painting

“Ancient horror”, Leo Samoilovich Bakst - description of the painting

Ancient horror - Leo Samoilovich Bakst. 250 x 270 cm

The picture depicts the death of civilization related to ancient Greece. It is likely that the painter wanted to show the death of Atlantis, but there is no evidence to support this conjecture.

The name of the picture has a deep symbolic meaning. By “Ancient Horror” is meant the horror of man's powerlessness in the face of the almighty Fate. The pagans believed that what was destined for man would certainly come true, and he had no chance of changing it.

Such fatalism is peculiar precisely to the pagan concept of the universe. With the advent of Christianity, the situation has changed somewhat. The Christian does not believe that life is completely predetermined: it is in the hands of God, but God himself provides an opportunity for choice.

However, due to the fact that Christianity, and with it the old culture, is leaving the stage, pre-Christian, uncivilized and uncouth stereotypes reappear in their pristine nudity.

The death of civilization depicted in the picture is not accidentally associated precisely with the end of the history of mythical Atlantis - just like that imaginary continent, this one was flooded with ocean waters.

The viewer realizes that the water that has already flooded the beautiful architectural structures, temples, made with impeccable art of the house of wealthy citizens, rises higher. There will come a time when the mountains will be flooded, and, despite their apparent stability, they will nevertheless disappear into the abyss of water.

However, over this disaster rises the ancient bark, smiling archaic smile. Although by tradition she is called Aphrodite, it is not known for certain which goddess of the bark (female statues common during the archaic period) was dedicated to.

The wisdom that is visible in the form of the goddess is not subject to change, therefore, according to the author’s plan, everything can perish and perish, and it will remain until the very end.


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