Large Meditation: The wise man from the cottage in the wood forms part of the series of “Meditation” paintings executed between 1934-1937. The theme of this series developed from Jawlensky’s abstract heads from the 1920s. Both Meditations and Abstract Heads are characterized by the simplification of the head to the extreme - features are depicted with merely a few lines and the expression relies completely on colour, which is the only feature distinguishing the works.
Interested in the expressive force of colour more than in the form, Jawlensky studied the emotional and spiritual intensity in these works.
The dark tones of this Large Meditation suggest the emotional intensity of the Ecce Homo image of the Christ, which Meditations clearly evoke. The work also shows influences of Byzantine Icons.
By 1936, Jawlensky was already suffering arthritis which will leave him paralyzed towards the end of his life, which could explain why the style of the works towards the end of his life is so geometric.
Clemens Weiler, Alexej Jawlensky, Cologne, 1959, p. 260, no. 468, illustrated
Maria Jawlensky, Lucia Pieroni0Jawlensky and Angelica Jawlensky, Alexej Von Jawlensky: Catalogue raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Volume III: 1934-1937, Bonn, 1993, no. 2044, illustrated
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