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IN FULL SAIL
Fantasy ghost ship: Appears in the poem Airship by Mikhail Lermontov describing a fanciful journey and miraculous posthumous apparition of the Emperor Napoleon who died and was buried on the island of St Helena in the Atlantic ocean in 1821. The story mentions a ghost-ship that is speeding to its shores every year on the anniversary of the deposed monarch's death.
The Flying Dutchman (De Vliegende Hollander): A legendary ghost ship that is doomed to sail forever, never making it to the shore. It is usually seen from afar, sometimes in a halo of light. According to the legend, when the Flying Dutchman comes across another vessel, its crew tries to communicate and send messages ashore addressed to the people who have been long gone. Such a meeting was regarded as a bad omen among the seafarers.
Cutty Sark: The word 'sark' is Scots for 'short chemise' and cutty suggests that it is far too short. The nickname refers to the famous Scottish Witch Nannie Dee whose figure is gracing the bow of the vessel (a half-naked young woman clutching a horse's tail). The owner John Willis decided to use it for a new clipper he ordered after seeing a painting of a flying young Witch in a nightie - the heroine of the poem Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns.
The fantasy element in the painting is undeniable: the very ship, its sails and more unexpectedly, its masts, are all formed by the wings and bodies of the giant dragonflies! We see clearly the 'sailors' sliding swiftly up and down as they set the unusual sails at the captain's command. We see those fantastic sails shining with a cold luster and a seasoned navigator at the bow watching closely for any suspicious maneuvers of the other ships out at sea. Strengthening the sense of an intense vigil are the 'oculus' wings on both sides of the rostrum!
To continue the flight of fantasy we could trace an analogy between this undoubtedly aggressive (dragonfly - 'flying dragon') clipper and a pirate ship - note the Jolly Roger among the flying flags. It is certainly very different from the 'peaceful' butterfly ship by the artist, Departure of the Winged Ship.
A Major New Release
By VLADIMIR KUSH
Select image for Vladimir's thoughts on this piece
By VLADIMIR KUSH
This painting conveys a range of human emotions. The raging ocean is like the roar of a thousand lions, awakened in a dense jungle and rising to meet unexpected intruders. The pacified ocean is like a cub with eyes shut and head resting peacefully on outstretched paws. Careful if you wake the lion. Emotions are a part of the human experience. We can be quickly agitated and just as quickly calmed by the right word, phrase or action. Passion, whether for a topic or a person - can be volatile. Contentment and calm can be its reward.
By VLADIMIR KUSH
Flickering candlelight is a world culture symbol of faith and hope. It also represents the light of human mind flashing in the darkness of surrounding ignorance (think of the French Enlightenment figures Diderot and Voltaire).
1. The well-known expression “hope springs eternal” can be associated with the flame of a candle – we find this symbolic connection between the flickering candlelight and the hope of salvation in a raging sea expressed in an early painting by the artist To the Safe Haven
2. The Rose girl waiting for her sweetheart in the Daisy Games: the light of the small candle nearby speaks of the tentative hope that her feelings will be reciprocated. Any minute a light ‘breeze of indifference’ can extinguish this newly arisen and tenderly glowing flame of love.
3. The candle in this painting is the ‘light of reason’ coming from someone in their good old years continuing to enlighten the younger generation. As the poet said: “Shine all the time, forever shine, the last days’ depths to plumb…So runs my slogan – and the sun's!” (Vladimir Mayakovsky)
A New Release
by Michael Parkes
Fine Art Edition on Canvas
40" x 30"
Signed & Numbered