EROS AND PSYCHE
Beautiful princess Psyche appears in the 2nd century tale by Apuleius but the Greek mythology had long before that personified her as a human soul in the guise of a girl with butterfly’s wings. In Apuleius' tale some people believed that Psyche was even more beautiful than the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite herself. The offended goddess asked her son Eros to shoot Psyche with an arrow that would make her fall in love with a hideous man and bring her misery and sorrow. Eros immediately set out to fulfill the task but when he saw Psyche, right in that moment, he fell in love desperately and that was the first time he had not obeyed his mother. This story has since been an inspiration for countless works of art.
When I was thirteen years old, I visited the Louvre where I saw one of the most famous pieces of art inspired by this legend, a Neoclassical sculpture carved by Antonio Canova (1788-1793)
I was totally amazed, it touched me so deeply with its beauty that I said to myself back then, one day I am going to paint this… the story about love which could move the world.
Acrilic on Canvas 200 x 150 cm
ROMAN DE LA ROSE
One of the literary works I have drawn the inspiration from is a lecherous poem written between 1230-1275, "The Romance of the rose". It came out from the quills of two French authors, Guillame de Lorrise and Jeana de Meune, and it gave name to this painting. The way of loving and courting is described in an allegoric form, But its raciness could nevertheless embarass even the greatest of the seducers. However, forbidden, controversial and immodest has always been exciting, so there is no wonder that this piece of work has become so popular. So far a little over 250 manuscripts belonging to the cycle have been found. Each of them is slightly different in content, but the essence remains the same.
I really adore eroticism and I truly believe that it is a great gift from our Lord. When two drops run together it is deeply erotic, but unfortunately nowadays often represented in a distorted manner. I rather perceive it as symbolic and fascinating, unlike today's interpretation of eroticism that tends to be too vulgar and demonstrative.
Acrilic on Canvas 200 x 150 cm
In addition to original motives, I also get inspired by music, books and movies. It all gets deeply into my mind and it is happening constantly. My brain gets into full swing, my fantasy and immagination burst on white canvas reaching a fever pitch until exhaustion, and then I start wondering if that was really the moment I wanted to depict.
I used to love a book called Bitter Moon by Pascal Bruckner, famous French philosopher and writer. “Then she insisted to witness their fucking, she pressed her point, that she is going to initiate her secret sex life. And when I refused, she came into my room and had a romp with her boy.”
In 1992 Roman Polanski directed a film based on the book. A young prim couple, Didier and Beatrice, meets a provocatively beautiful Rebecca and her paralyzed husband Franz on board of a ship sailing to India. Franz is telling Didier about the perverse intimacy of their relationship, which is slowly turning from love into hate. In this concentrated eroticism, the perversion intensifies as the story unfolds. While working on this canvas I was wondering about people from the book and the movie and then I heard music coming from the neighbor's apartment, "Purple Rain" by Prince, and it was done,… at least the title, which matched the colors. Erotic drive and more sophisticated motives, which I could not have mixed without such a sequence of stimuli.
Acrilic on Canvas 200 x 150 cm
Plato in his symposium described a Greek myth about humanity and love. In the beginning, in the Golden Age, humans had three parts, male, female and the Androgyne. These creatures challenged the gods who decided to divide them in two but they became so desperate In their desire to regain the unity, their parts searching for each other, that they begun to die. Zeus decided to give them the satiety in the erotic union, and according to Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium, in that moment Eros was born. That means that love was born out of the search for the original unity. Eros is passionate about endless good, i.e., being beatific, which is for mortal beings possible just through giving birth. A human overwhelmed with erotic desire is giving life, no matter if in mental or physical form. Beauty in this context is what erotic desire creates, however due to its essential ambivalence it could be the erotic yearning either towards ourselves or towards the other. It could bring us the ultimate transcendence. That is why the most important role in eroticism is that of an educator. In this story it is Socrates, as was Diotima for him.
Sometimes we want to keep our fantasies just for ourselves so we could continue immagining making love, be it to another human or a huge octopus (like in "The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife" by Hokusai), but none of this defines our real inner self.
As pointed out, fantasies are simply a different world. the point is how far we extend the boundaries of our sexuality. For someone just simple thinking about sex is enough to get excited. However, the key for everything is in loving and being loved...
Acrylic on Canvas, 200 x 150 cm
Two more deaths will ensue from the killing of Centaur Nessus in the hands of heroic Heracles depicted at this multilayered palimpsest that comes across as a trailer. Deianeira was the daughter of the god Dionysus, a lovely lady who drove a chariot and practiced the art of war. She was the wife of Heracles, who slowed the time while making love to his mother so the child in her womb would not be conceived in haste. Heracles grew up to be the strongest and the most masculine of all the heroes of Greco-Roman mythology.
The story is emerging from the distant past and the pigment processed to resemble the peeling stucco of ancient Roman walls is in stark contrast with the appearing and disappearing of elongated limbs insecure of their destiny in the hands of the painter. This dynamic time machine is revealed through a contrast between the mixture of clear and smudged lines and the presence of stucco-like pigment. The combined technique surprises with the addition of roughly woven textile calling into mind ancient Greek weaving looms, the quintessential feminine, crossed with several parallel black ink lines of a masculine energy. The intentionally clean section at the bottom right corner is where a tangle of etherical body parts is still waiting to be put together and defined by the pivotal force of Hercules.
Centaur Nessus pretended to help the couple cross the river, but instead carried Deianeira off and tried to violate her. We see enraged Heracles pulling his bow while Deianera is fighting against the monster whose blood has already been poisoned by the venom of Hydra from the tip of Heracles arrow. The two are just about to share a terrible mortal secret, a promise made by the dying centaur to a woman in love that a shirt soaked in his blood would make her husband faithful forever. Pedja Djaković gives this gigantic eventful canvas a fresco quality, not just by his choice of the pigment technique, but also by making the longer horizontal side reminiscent of medieval “stories” where a succession of events was painted on the walls, while at the same time adding a modern touch through the hints of color where another layer of future announces it coming into existence.
The seed of a sequel is planted by the dramatic movement of the limbs to the right of the static figure of Heracles. He will soon end up setting a funeral pyre to die in the flames rather than being cooked alive in the Shirt of Nessus, a gift from his jealous wife after she found out he fell in love with princess Iole. Desperate Deianeira will hang herself afterward. Desire, deceit, violence, jealousy, fighting, revenge and death are all coming to life in this one instant. It doesn’t feel like looking at a painting, but rather as if we were quickly flipping through the pages of a comic book catching the glimpses of the tragedy branching over time, emerging, disappearing and returning in the eternal cycle of Eros and Thanatos.
Mixed Technique, 150 x 200 cm
Heracles and Nessus
WHEN TWO BECOME ONE
“When love is not madness, it is not love.” ― Pedro Calderon de la Barca....
I always think of the communion of souls taking place through an erotic encounter as a huge gift from our Lord. It is like landing on planet Mars and coming back,
It is the moment when all boundaries are crossed and life is getting back to the origin and the beginnings.
This is one of eight large curtains made for the indoor garden in a stunning penthouse apartment in Prague. with its marvelous view of the city center it represents the Olympus in my mind.
Curtain, 240 x 150 cm
Charites, or Graces in ancient Rome, were the three daughters of the highest god Zeus and Eurydom, the goddesses of charm and beauty. Aglaia was the youngest, called "splendor, brilliant, shining one". Euphrosyne was the goddess of Good Cheer, Joy and Mirth. Thalia was the goddess of feasts and festivities, called "the joyous, the abundance." All three were lovely and kind. They appear in company of other gods, especially Aphrodite, Dionysus, Apollo, and the Muses. They were protecting the festivities and feasts and were especially mindful of artistic beauty. Charites were depicted as dancing girls with the following symbolism:
always in trio – there are three kinds of benefactions (give, accept, return)
always holding each other’s hands – benefaction is like a chain which comes from one hand to the other
expressing joy – pleasing the one who gives, and the otherwho accepts
youth – the memory of benefaction should not get old
transparent robe – benefaction is never scared of looks
The first time I saw them was in the Louvre. The original sculpture was a 3rd/2nd century BC Greek work of art. They are also depicted in Botticelli's La Primavera and I will carry the memory of that outstanding painting in my heart forever.
Near Dubrovnik there is a small island called Supetar, where we used to go swimming in our youth. We would get there in a small boat and I used to watch beautiful women from Dubrovnik. for some reason, god knows why, they were always in trios, and as divine beings they would come out from the sea … tall, skinny, fearless and smiling, with their stunning bodies… amazing spectacle – it made me think of Olympus, where all the goddesses live. To this day, I remember their laughter and the grace of their steps .
Acrylic on Canvas 200 x 150
Andromeda was the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, the rulers of Joppa in ancient Aethiopia. Cassiopeia offended the sea nymphs by boasting that she was more beautiful than they, so angered Poseidon sent flooding, plagues and a sea monster to devastate Cepheus’ kingdom.
An oracle told Andromeda’s father that the ills would cease if he exposed his daughter to the monster. to appease the gods, she was chained to a rock and left to be devoured. Perseus saw her as he carried the head of Medusa flying back home in his winged sandals. He initially thought Andromeda was a marble statue, but when he saw her tears and the wind in her hair, he fell in love and asked the King for his daughter's hand.
Perseus slew the monster with the same sword with which he severed Medusa's head and thus saved Andromeda from certain death. At their marriage feast Andromeda’s uncle Phineus, to whom she had originally been promised, tried to claim her, but Perseus turned him into stone with Medusa’s head. Andromeda bore Perseus six sons and a daughter.
Curtain, 240 x 150 cm