Friday, June 6, 2008

The Sphinx

I first saw this painting by Ferdinand Knopff titled "Des Caresses", 1896, on the cover of a book called "Jocasta's Children" which I read 15 years ago. I was absolutely fascinated and would interrupt my reading every few pages to gaze at it. Because of the book's subject, I see this as the image of a (doting and fierce) mother and son, even today. Maybe the artist even intended it to be. 

At the time, I was reading a lot of psychoanalytic theory and women's studies while preparing to apply to the Academy of Fine Arts, and used the image as a model for my own paintings of atypical couples. There was the Garden of Eden with Adam tempting Eve with the apple, a monk and a woman in the desert, and Darth Vader and a naked woman in a sealed room. They were tacky as hell and badly executed and certainly not the reason for my getting into art school. Probably, I was also working through some love issues while wielding the brush. I don't even know where those awful paintings are anymore, but when I see "Des Caresses" today, an unusual relationship or two spring to mind again in a good way.

Are there images that stay with you forever too, that when you see them, bring back all sorts of emotions and associations from when you first encountered them? 


Sharon Rose said...

My mum and I went to the Cistene Chapel many years ago, but any pictures reproduced of the frescos are a reminder of the beauty I saw!

Karima said...

yes, that is quite unforgettable!