Monday, November 14, 2011

Without Hope - or Crazy With Fear


This painting is made by Eugène Delacroix, the French 19th Century artist.  I saw it in the National Gallery in Oslo last week, and I really wonder how I can have missed it until now...
It's an amazing, intriguing piece of work.  The Norwegian title is "På Kanten av Stupet", which translates "On the edge of the cliff", and the caption says that the original, French title is "Le désespéré" (The despaired, the one feeling without hope.) Well, I think the correct French title actually is "Fou de Peur", or "Crazy with Fear." Anyway, no matter which title this painting has, it's obviously about a man about to fall, to let himself fall... His expression is pained, desperate, panicked.
The painting is left partly unfinished, and I wonder if that may be intentional.  He (the artist himself?) is letting himself fall, away, into the unknown.  
Some talk about suicide, others will say it's about going crazy.  I simply see the reflection of that feeling many of us are familiar with, the feeling of loosing our grip on life, that the ground beneath our feet is disappearing and that we're slipping into a huge void. Fear. Hopelessness. Anxiety.
Anyway, it's a must-see if you ever go to Oslo.

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