In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about how Soutine’s use of Christian imagery mixed with his life experiences, artistic influences and his own Jewish culture in his paintins, particularly his carcass paintings such as Flayed Rabbit from 1924. In Part 2, I uncovered beliefs and superstitions specific to the area where Soutine was raised, and how I believe they influenced his work, particularly the idea of the Angel Dumah and his fascination with death. Part 3 goes deeper into these ideas and how one painting in particular encapsulates them.
Posts tagged Soutine
In the book, Journey to a Nineteenth-Century Shtetl, Yekhezkel Kotik shares his memories of living in a shtetl not far from Soutine’s home of Smilovitchi in what is now Lithuania and what was once the part of Tsarist Russia that held on desperately to the edge of its borders with dirty fingernails. Of the superstitious beliefs of the townspeople, and there were many, there is this one in regard to death,
The artist Chaim Soutine’s still life paintings of animals, what I prefer to call his carcass paintings, can be unsettling, especially given the fact that Soutine was known to have never worked from memory, but rather used live, or dead, models for all his works.
Nearly all of Soutine’s art can be jarring to the viewer for a variety of reasons; his use of color, his lines, his brushstrokes and overall style as well as his subject matter are startling, but after our initial response what are we to make of these works? And what is it that Soutine was trying to say?