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Κυριακή, 2 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Gorky' s "Agony"

Hi everyone! The following icon is Gorky’s “Agony”. You can read the following dialogue between me and my daughter (she is 10 years old, she is dyslexic and her talent is painting, she loves painting). The bold are my questions.
- What do you see?
- I don’t know – I can’t understand, I see colors, red, a lot of red (why?), and black – are there black holes or real holes? There is a strange figure, no there are two … I see something yellow – what is it? Maybe it’s a kind of guitar or an upside-down face which smiles … There is something like a black candle with a yellow, strong flame and an armchair. It isn’t a usual painting. It’s very abstract!
- How do you feel looking at this painting?
- Terror and fear! All this red and the black holes, it’s nightmarish! But I like it! I don’t know why. Is Miro the creator of this painting?
- No the creator of this painting is Gorky. You know about him. You have seen another Gorky’s painting, “The artist and his mother”. As you know “In 1915 Gorky fled Lake Van during the Armenian Genocide  and escaped with his mother and his three sisters into Russian-controlled territory. In the aftermath of the genocide, Gorky's mother died of starvation in Yerevan in 1919. Arriving in America in 1920, the 16-year old Gorky was reunited with his father, but they never grew close.” ( Gorky was a very important painter in America, but, finally Gorky's studio barn burned down and, also, he felt very ill …
- Wait! Now, I can understand! This painting “tell” us about his tragic life – Is it correct?
-I don’t know … This painting is called “Agony” … What do you thing about it?
- Well, all this red is the blood, the candle is the fire and the black holes are the death! Terror and fear! But that yellow upside-down face, maybe, is the hope. I think that the central figure is Gorky’s agony! I think that his agony is a feeling between fear and hope. The other figure is Gorky’s life.

It is easy to discuss with my daughter about what she sees or feels, when she is looking at the “Agony”, because she loves painting and she has seen and she has read about painting and painters. I think that it’s easy and agreeable for a teacher to discuss with his students about art, if they know about it and love it. But, if the students don’t know about art or don’t love it, I think that there is a challenge: The teacher can attach the emotion and experience of student/s first and go to their brain after. I’m sure that art, especially painting has to tell us a lot of interesting and important things. If the teachers encourage their students to discuss with the work of art (NOT about it), they inspire them.


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