Tarkovsky’s cinema is steeped in Eastern Orthodox mysticism.
Orthodox Easter, celebrated by most branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church (including the Russian Orthodox Church) and some Oriental Orthodox churches, is today this year. Orthodoxy in Estonia is practiced by 13% of the population, making it the second most identified religion after Lutheran Christianity.
The Easter service itself begins the night before Easter Sunday. I actually took part of it last night. People gather at church at around 23:00 to hear the Easter mass. Bells begin to ring out across the city and the priest will then lead the congregation around the church in what is called ‘the cross procession’.
I found a copy of Andrei Rublyov’s Holy Trinity hanging on the wall. The Church has many different depictions of the Holy Trinity. But the icon which defines the very essence of Trinity Day is invariably the one which shows the Trinity in the form of three angels. The prototype for this icon was the mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity in the form of three travelers to Abraham and Sarah under the oak of Mamre. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the triunity and equality of all three Persons.
Andrei Rublev, Art, Orthodox Icons, Russian Art, Russian Orthodox Church, Trinity, Christ the Redeemer.
Paul Cadmus, Le Ruban Dénoué: Hommage à Reynaldo Hahn, 1963, tempera on gessoed masonite. Columbus Museum of Art
From the Smithsonian Institution’s website:
The musician Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947) was a child prodigy, both as a performer (of the piano) and a composer; he wrote his first songs when he was eight. Hahn adapted many of his songs from the poetry of Victor Hugo and Paul Verlaine and composed exquisite love songs that embodied the neo-romanticism of belle-epoque France. In Cadmus’s flamboyantly romantic work, Hahn is visited and seduced by Pan, who lies on the steps while a sprite kisses Hahn, the ribbon (“le ruban dénoué”) unfurling like musical notes into the air.
Paul Cadmus’ dreamlike painting is indeed filled with elements of seduction and (homo)eroticism. William Poundstone wrote about the painting in 2010, comparing its homoerotic content to the Columbus Museum of Arts’ then-recently deaccessioned Thomas Eakins painting of The Wrestlers (now at LACMA). Regardless of the artist’s sexual orientation, I like to read the painting as representing the struggle for artistic inspiration, the confrontation between carnal and heavenly desires. The use of color, light, and line contribute to the narrative content of the painting and together combine to allow the viewer to experience a purely aesthetic depiction of beauty.
Andy Warhol,Dracula, 1981, Polacolor 2 print. Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine. Gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., The Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program
Fun fact: in 1974, Andy Warhol produced a film called Blood for Dracula. Art and film come together in an amazing way with this production.