Author: Kirill Postovit
Country of origin: Czech Republic
Year of creation: 2020
Dimensions: 180 H x 120 W cm.
Estimate: $15,000 USD
One Thousand and One Nights
The first sketch for the painting was created back in 2014, we can say that the Episodes Collection was founded by this sketch, and in subsequent years it was supplemented with such paintings as Flight At Night, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, and many others. Surprisingly, despite the fact that the idea of the One Thousand and One Nights appeared as first, the painting was started only in 2019 and completed by the author in 2020. If we would have a look at the very first sketch, we can trace the integrity of the author's idea by comparing the first sketch with the painting - the composition of the painting, the color palette, and even symbolic details remained unchanged. The author himself, when asked why the painting was not started and completed back in 2014 when the first exhibition of the Episodes Collection took place, and why it took six years before the painting was presented, said that each painting has its own time. The time when the idea will be transferred to the canvas, when it will be enlivened by paints and when the symbolism of the details breathes life into it.
The color palette of the painting is undoubtedly based on the colors used in the art of the Byzantine era, we often find these colors in the canvases of Kirill Postovit, especially in recent years. However, here it is worth noting that the author thought out the color palette of the painting back in 2014, thus the artwork became the first painting in a very long time, where the Byzantine palette was used. In particular, I would like to note the colors of Scheherazade and Shahriyar's attire she is dressed in white - a symbol of purity and simplicity of intentions, while Shahriyar is seen to be wearing green clothes - In accordance with ancient Byzantine canon, Emerald symbolizes eternal life, the youth of the soul and hope.
Several of Scheherazade’s tales can clearly be recognized in the painting. Aladdin and his magic lamp (right middle part of the painting), Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (upper part of the painting), and the ship that Scheherazade holds in her right palm clearly hints at Sinbad the Sailor. What do we know for sure about the origins of One Thousand and One Nights, is that the literature work was collected over many centuries by various authors, translators, and scholars across West, Central and South Asia, and North Africa. Some tales themselves trace their roots back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Greek, Jewish, and Turkish folklore and literature.
One could talk about the symbolic meanings of the picture for hours on end, as long as Scheherazade herself told stories to the Sultan. The two main figures in the painting clearly hint at Scheherazade and Shahriyar themself, but at the same time, they are in some way, collective characters, ideal lovers. A slightly noticeable detail takes the lovers to the very dawn of the Ottoman Empire. The green ring on the woman's left hand clearly hints at the love story of Suleiman the Magnificent and Khyurrem Sultan. The fact that the Suleymaniye Mosque can be seen in the background of the painting is not only another hint of Khyurem and Suleiman. During the reign of Suleiman, the Ottoman Empire reached its peak, and Suleymaniye became the symbol of great might and power, one of the most prominent hallmarks of Istanbul. Endless, fabulous love, love outside of time and space. With the endless tenderness in the look of the couple bewitches, it becomes impossible to take your eyes off them. The woman touches the man's face with her left hand, а hand coming from the under the heart.
The man's hands are occupied with a Misbaha (rosary), and a lowered sword. By faith and war, he is ready to protect her. In turn, holding a ship in her right hand, which symbolizes water, she offers him peace and serenity (ancient philosophy defines water as the substance of peace and tranquility). On the man's left hand, a ring on the index finger is barely noticeable; here astrological symbolism is seen - the index finger is considered to be the finger of Jupiter, in ancient Roman mythology, the god of the sky, daylight, thunderstorms, the father of all gods.
The general composition of the couple is also extremely interesting - the four elements are arranged around them. The air is marked with a flying carpet, the water is marked by the Bosphorus Straits over which they fly, the fire we see in the Aladdin’s lamp, and the earth is emphasized by the mosque. The four elements are, in a way, a designation of life, our world, and in the painting, these four elements merged together, became one whole in order to lead through time and space that endless love.
A very interesting detail of the painting is the Aladdin’s lamp itself, shaped like a cup of abundance, or the Holy Grail. Three gems are clearly visible on the lamp (cup), one of which is a ruby. If we turn to the symbolic meaning of gems, the ruby is considered a symbol of royal dignity, passionate love, and vitality. It’s a stone of luck, happiness, and longevity. By combining two meanings, the cup and the ruby, we get that very cherished Horn of Life or a cornucopia.
One Thousand and One Nights is an amazing painting, an artwork where, at first glance, the incomprehensible is combined. The impression is created that Kirill Postovit was able to string on a thin golden thread that weaves through the whole artwork, ancient symbolism, legends of the East, an amazing feeling of composition and color, enclosed in an endless love story. A story that became immortal by being transformed into a painting by Kirill Postovit.
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