This weekend, the blogosphere has been buzzing about the recreation of the painting Maslenitsa Festival by A Kuplin. The rumor around the web is that a Russian professor claims that the artist had a severe mental illness that can be diagnosed from something within the painting but that only one person in his 15 years of teaching has been able to unlock the mystery. [insert ohhhhs & ahhhhs]. Supposedly, the professor was to come forward on Friday with the answer but he’s been mysteriously absent. Dare I be the first to start the unfounded rumor that the
According to VeryRussian.net:
One more clue. Someone made this guess. The painting depicts the Maslenitsa (Shrovetide, the feast on the last day before the Lent — the Brazilian carnival is the same holiday). It’s one of the holidays with pagan roots, and the celebration involves burning a strawman — symbolising, if I remember correctly, the ending winter. Now, could it be that you’re the burning strawman?
To which the professor allegedly replied, “not a strawman — but close”.
Also, he said the keywords are water and air. (Now that I think of it — could it be painted from the perspective of a falling, and possibly melting, snowflake? Was the phobia a fear of falling?)
The most fascinating discussion we’ve seen so far is taking place over at MetaFilter.com:
The image is an imperfect reproduction of a particular postcard dated 1972. A blogger (in Russian) claims his psychiatry professor found one aspect of this eerie painting that reveals the patient’s disorder. Allegedly, only one of his students in the past 15 years has figured it out. The psychoanalytic mystery has piqued the interest (in Russian) of the online community. A number of supplemental hints from the professor and thousands of guesses later, the case remains unsolved. Skeptics have already decried the mystery as a traffic-boosting hoax, but a few signs still point to its authenticity. Most notably, the artist’s reproduction of another classic painting contains the following note: “transferred in 1990 from Moscow mental hospital.”
I especially like Freen’s enlightened commentary where he postulates the following:
Comparisons have been made to Jean-François Millet’s L’angelus, a painting which “hid” a coffin between the husband and wife discovered by Salvador Dali (after an x-ray) when he sensed a feeling of anguish between them, and, of course, The Da Vinci Code.
Naturally I’m taking this mystery with a huge grain of salt, as it’s been built up in such an exaggerated way. Nevertheless, scrutinizing and dissecting this painting has really freaked me out. In any case, the ensuing debate offers a glimpse into the best and worst of amateur artistic/psychiatric interpretation.
posted by themadjuggler at 3:05 AM PST on December 3
I’d say it’s cortical blindness and/or Unilateral Neglect mixed in with a bit of anosognosia manifested as blindsight.
This painting is a copy of the original, however the difference is that, all of the content right from the center is missing in the copy. The copy only contains the same information from the left hand side of the painging but seen from another angle.
Compared to the original painting, there is “nothing” on the right hand side of the copy.
this person literally cannot conceive of anything on the right hand side of his perspective. were you to ask him to draw a clock, you would probably get only the numbers 6,7,8,9,10,11, 12, either all around the circle of the clock or trailing off at 6 and 12. the story would be much the same if you asked him to draw an upside down clock, however, the numbers would be 12,1,2,3,4,5,6.
This person knows there is another “half” of the painting, but cannot conceive of it, and so “fills in” the right hand side with the left hand side, but from a new perspective.
I’d imagine that this person, were they male, would only shave the left hand side of his face. I’d also wager that out of a pair of playing cards, this person would only be able to identify the left hand one, and would either fabricate the suit and number of the right hand card, or claim that the right hand card was the same card as the left hand card. However, they would be adamant about the correctness of their identification of both cards.
Anosognosia is a condition where you refuse to believe that you have a disorder or handicap, and attempt to compensate with either behaviors or rationales. I.E. a paralyzed person may claim that they are in a full body caste, and that is what is preventing them from being able to move.
Though, I could be completely wrong.
Hmmm. . . .I don’t know about our readers, but around the Medgadget office we’re working with the theory of a well crafted urban legend meant to frustrate and confuse. Something this juicy is exactly what the web loves to propagate and it quickly becomes “fun fact fodder” for every website throughout the universe. But [you knew a but was coming] on the off chance we’re wrong, we’d like to see what our highly educated readers can come up with. The glove has been dropped, will you accept the challenge?
*My favorite suggestion is the Freudian interpretation which concludes there is a woman engaging in intercourse. You may have to stare for a few minutes, but sadly it will jump out at you.