Mourning Son

… or Social Distancing. More art of the pandemic: a CGI homage to Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun (1952) by Vadim Temkin:


The original, a portrait of stark isolation:


My response (on 3/21/20) to Vadim’s previous adventure in homage art for the pandemic, a bow to Magritte’s Golconda (1953) that I portmantitled Golcorona :

[It’s] a many-depthed airscape of naked young men (with modesty hands) and fuzzy coronavirus molecules

… Vadim’s work, with its stormcloud-studded sky, terracotta-tiled roofs, and detailed house facades, seems much more vividly, urgently real than Magritte’s. This is where we live now, it’s not a surrealist dream: Golcorona is both familiar and gorgeous, but it’s also a mine of death.

On Facebook yesterday, Vadim said of this work, “It was surreal, and cartoonish, and melancholy, and very direct.” In contrast to #1, which is subtle and very bleak, recognizing (in Vadim’s words on FB):

how “social distancing” is a leitmotif in Hopper’s works. The original is brighter than my version, and still quite melancholy. This one doesn’t have any viri in it, but … it very much represents [the] zeitgeist of the moment.

About #2, from the Edward Hopper Net site:

Edward Hopper was one of the early American artists to paint the experience of human isolation in the modern city. In Morning Sun, the woman – modeled after Hopper’s wife, Jo – faces the sun impassively and seemingly lost in thought. Her visible right eye appears sightless, emphasizing her isolation. The bare wall and the elevation of the room above the street also suggest the bleakness and solitude of impersonal urban life.

Bonus on Vadim’s name. I don’t recall having noticed this before, but Vadim’s name in Cyrillic (which cme up in FB discussions) is

Вадим Тёмкин

That family name, with the Cyrillic vowel letter ё (pronounced [jo]) rather than e (pronounced [je]) or э (pronounced [ɛ]), is usually transliterated into Latin letters in English with the vowel letters yo, jo, io, or just o: Tyomkin, Tjomkin, Tiomkin, Tomkin. But not Temkin, which looks like it has a confusion of Cyrillic ё and e.

Then the penny dropped, and I made the onomastic connection between Vadim — Jewish, originally from Minsk in Belarus — and the celebrated movie composer Dimitri Tiomkin — Jewish, originally from Kremenchuk in Ukraine (a different piece of the old Russian Empire). Тёмкин here, Тёмкин there. From Wikipedia:

Dimitri Zinovievich Tiomkin (Russian: Дмитрий Зиновьевич Тёмкин, Dmitrij Zinov’evič Tjomkin, Ukrainian: Дмитро́ Зино́війович Тьо́мкін, Dmytro Zynoviyovyč Tomkin) (May 10, 1894 – November 11, 1979) was a Ukrainian-born American film composer and conductor. Classically trained in St. Petersburg, Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution, he moved to Berlin and then New York City after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, after the stock market crash, he moved to Hollywood, where he became best known for his scores for Western films, including Duel in the Sun, Red River, High Noon, The Big Sky, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and Last Train from Gun Hill.

In any case, I now feel that I’ve been pronouncing Vadim’s family name sort of wrong all these years, as /tɛmkɪn/, when the straightforward anglicization would be /tamkɪn/. Well, it’s a spelling pronunciation, what you get if you spell it Temkin.

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