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Pieta, or Night Revolution, Max Ernst – Description

Description of the picture:

Pieta, or the night revolution – Max Ernst. 1923. Oil on canvas. 116.2 x 88.9 cm
Pieta is a motif that is very popular in medieval religious art and in the Renaissance. In the classic version, this is an image of the Virgin Mary with Jesus Christ lifted from the cross, on her knees.

In the picture created by Ernst, the role of the Mother of God is played by a typical bourgeois with a mustache twisted like that of Hercule Poirot. He is wearing a low-bowled bowler hat, a strict business suit with a tie. He is on his knees and holds in his hands the profile-depicted young man in a white shirt and red trousers. He is barefoot, and the gray color of his face and body emphasizes that he has long been dead, life has left his body and has deprived of natural colors. The body is suspiciously reminiscent of the artist himself, and the image of the bourgeois in the “background” (it is the same brown color as the stone wall behind the figures) hints that the author was crucified by the old banal world for his revolutionary art.

The person pictured in the background also attracts attention. These are schematic outlines, a flat incorporeal essence, the image of a person – he has a beard, closed eyes and sadly sagging shoulders. It is striking that a similar absurd abstract staircase is depicted next to it, however, a person seems to soar above it without finding support. This sketchy image contrasts strikingly with the very clearly and realistically depicted shower watering can. It seems as if the artist reproduced his dream – a strange, sad, ambiguous and a little crazy."

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