“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” –Bernard Williams
Boris Kustodiev is the artist who caught my eye this week. He was a Russian painter and set designer who lived between the years of 1878 and 1927. What impressed me the most about him, aside from his multiple disciplines of set design and painting, was the resiliency of his spirit.
After contracting tuberculosis of the spine, he eventually became a paraplegic. While this would be enough to make most people bitter, and cause them to give up on life, Kustodiev somehow retained an internal joy and the passion to create.
Kustodiev created Pancake Tuesday/Maslenitsa strictly from memory after being confined to his room by his illness. The obvious beauty and joy of the painting belie his seemingly hopeless condition. He recalled the beautiful surroundings he remembered from his childhood in Russia and reproduced them on canvas, for the world to enjoy.
Let’s let Mr. Kustodiev’s example remind us that our joy lies not in our present circumstances but in the depths of our immortal souls. We have access to it at will and can cultivate an evenness of temper and a contagious excitement for life that inspires not only ourselves but everyone around us.
My own work this week has mainly been research. I am making a painting for Estara, the original celebration of fertility and Spring, upon which the Easter holiday is based. I have a beautiful prepped canvas waiting to be filled!
Until next time, peace and blessings on the path towards your most authentic self.
Love and Light,