Rape of Proserpina
35,43 x 27,56 in
90,0 x 70,0 cm
…Discrete, irregular areas of varying color and tone defined by dark borders create chromatic islands, an archipelago forming figures emerging from the darkness into the bright, Caravaggesque light. As noted above, this technique is inspired by stained glass windows where each section of colored glass is fitted with a lead collar then fused with others to create a luminous, multi-figured composition. In appropriating elements of Old Master compositions Mikhaylov extracts them from their original context and relocates them in the present. Merging religious themes with a mode of representation referring to stained glass suggests the observer occupies a special space, a spiritual space similar to the interior of a chapel, an effect enhancing the painting’s aura and meaning.
…Madonna dell’Impannata is based on Raphael’s painting of the same name. Here the Baby Jesus has been removed from the center of the composition and replaced by a computer screen directing the viewer to choose: “Background or Select Similar Layers.” As in Last Supper Interrupted, we can delete the center of the narrative - the heart of meaning – and paste in a new text that may be a perversion of or have no bearing on the original message and so introduce a completely different reality in the guise of accepted “truth.”
Dr. Michael P. Mezzatesta
The Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director Emeritus
Duke University Museum of Art