Saturday, April 5, 2014
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Hypatia of Alexandria (d. 415 A.D.) is the most significant woman philosopher and mathematician whose life story has come down to us from antiquity. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school in Alexandria, and was a follower of the 3rd century philosopher Plotinus. Hypatia was brutally murdered by a Christian mob, reportedly for taking the side of the governor against the Bishop of Alexandria. As her works have not survived, she has become something of a mythic figure, who for some has come to symbolize the beautiful yet unabashedly intellectual woman who the ruling male powers are unable to tolerate and who they ultimately seek to destroy. To me, she embodies the question of the meaning of the feminine, both for and within each of the sexes. From a Jungian, perspective, I view her “image” as an anima figure that the male struggles to accept and embrace, but ultimately suppresses.
I have painted the prelude to her assassination in a more contemporary setting to underscore the continuing force of the dogmatic and misogynistic attitudes that led to her death.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
This is the final painting in my triptych, "The Murder of Hypatia." Hypatia holds a magnifying mirror up to those, in this case the artist himself, who need to examine themselves, with regard to their attitudes towards women and the anima, their inner feminine principle. "Why," the artist asks himself, "have I chosen 'The Murder of Hypatia' as my theme?"
Here we see Hypatia after her death at the hands of the (male) Christian mob. No longer in her philosopher's white she is now wearing black, a symbol of mourning for her death, and the darkness of the middle ages that followed her demise. When men demonize a brilliant and wise woman they turn her into a witch, a crafty practitioner of the dark arts. Darkness is also unleashed within the man's own soul when he demonizes and murders the feminine aspect of his own psyche.