How to show the mind through artistic means? Many artists have set such a goal. One may paint an image of an intelligent person by making facial features particularly expressive, eyes clear, and the posture confident. But we perceive a picture not so much with the mind, that is with the help of analytical and cognitive skills, as with the reason responsible for emotions and feelings. Pavlukhina mediated on the question: how to distinguish mind and reason? She tried to portray the Key to reason.
The picture should be perceived gradually, as if spelled out. First, the viewer sees an arch in which there is an elderly woman dressed in modest attire depicted in full height. She stands on a key, which is reverentially held by angels. This key may symbolize the true essence of human existence. On either side of the woman, there are a middle-aged man and an elderly man, who we may take for her father and son, placing a crown on her head. In the left and right wing of the arch, there are male figures. They are sages holding books in their hands. In the upper part, on either side of the arc, we can see images of warriors, defenders in shining armor. A dove flies over the woman's head as a symbol of pure spirit and freedom of reason. At the very top of the painting, there is an image of the birth of a child being a pure and bright soul, who has come to this world for knowledge and life experience, which close people can give.
Not by accident did Pavlukhina arrange the figures of people in this way. The arch implies an unbreakable bond and at the same time separation between mind and reason. The artist is deeply concerned with this philosophical issue. Mind is always restricted to the dual perception of the world - either bad or good, white or black. It is very difficult for a person acting by mind to be happy, because mind is focused on finding suffering out of the blue. Reason, on the other hand, is an integral part of consciousness, and is focused on morality, conscience, spirituality, creativity, usefulness. The main character of the picture is a woman, because it seems to the artist that spirituality, inherent in reason, is more developed in a woman: mind is not able to cope with feelings, while reasonableness is manifested as the ability to control mind and emotions. The artist showed the modern problem of praising the human mind and giving little time to explore one's reason in a figurative and intuitive way. The key to reason might be self-awareness and control over emotions.
Key to reason
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27/31/4 cm, oil painting on linden wood