Moirae


This monumental relief with the very limited height of its forms is almost as expressive as a graphic mural. In close-up, the Moirae’s faces, represented fragmentarily, look especially assertive, while the subtle linear modelling of the high relief divests these impressive images of their overpowering grandiosity. Graphic stylisation reduces the physicality of the imagery and transposes the story into the realm of mythopoetic ideas in spite of the absence of direct references to its epic nature. The treatment of lines and spots actualizes symbolical implications, and deliberately eschewing specificity (such as attributes or annotations), the artist divests the image of direct references to Greek and Roman antiquity and expands the boundaries of possible interpretation. The proportions of the Moirae’s austere oval visages are far from the classic standards. Abstract ideal gives way here to emotional intensity enhanced by the contrast with the dense straight curtain in the background, which provokes a wide range of associations – with the rhythms of times, with the stream of the River Lethe, with purgatorial assistance (delicate layers of gold put on an icon). Such liberal attitudes to iconography and unconventional combinations of artistic techniques peculiar to different forms and genres of art establish an informal, deep-running tie between the sculpture and the values of an age of myth-making.

 

Brief annotations to the image

MOIRAE, the daughters of Zeus and Themis named Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, were goddesses of human destiny in Greek mythology. Spinning the thread of life for men and women, they were sometimes depicted as young women looking like Muses, Charites or Nymphs, and sometimes as old women. When the thread was cut, a person’s life came to an end. In different versions of the myth, the trio symbolised implacability, randomness and the inevitability of destiny, or the present, the past and the future. A spinning-wheel, a scroll, and a pair of scales were attributes of the Moirae.