Title:

Elegy III

Year:

2002

Medium:

Hand Printed Lithograph (framed)

Size:

90cm x 70cm

Price:

£790

Hand Printed. Limited Edition of 50 Framed in Black

Artist Profile

Rudinskas has had exhibitions in Lithuania, Germany and several other European countries as well as Egypt, USA and Japan. He works as a lithographer and book illustrator.

Inspiration for the etchings

The Elegy series of lithographs has a particularly interesting history. They are inspired by the writings of the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke who was born in Prague in 1875. Rilke was brought up by his mother as a girl called Sophia until the age of five to compensate for the loss of an earlier baby daughter. Rilke’s militarily inclined father Josef, a railway official, sent him to a military academy in Mahrisch-Weisskirchen where he spent several miserable years until the age of sixteen. Perhaps because of his upbringing Rilke found it difficult to form long-lasting relationships with women. However in 1901 he married Klara Westhoff after she became pregnant though the marriage lasted only a year. Klara was a pupil of the sculptor Rodin and Rilke moved in artistic circles for much of his life, meeting Tolstoy in Russia, working for Rodin in Paris and influencing contemporary writers such as Auden, Spender and Rupert Brooke.

In 1910 Rilke visited his friend Marie von Thurn und Taxis-Hohenlohe at Duino, her remote castle on the shores of the Adriatic. He started to compose what we now call the ‘Duino Elegies.’ In these philosophical poems Rilke meditates on time and eternity, life and death, art versus ordinary life. The tone is melancholic. Rilke believed in the coexistence of the material and spiritual realms but to him human beings are only spectators of life, grasping its beauties momentarily only to lose them again.

In 1913 Rilke returned to Paris but was forced to go back to Germany following the outbreak of war. Duino castle was bombarded and reduced to ruins. All Rilke’s personal property in France was confiscated and he spent the rest of his life in Switzerland. He suffered from leukaemia but died from an infection when he pricked himself on a rose thorn – or this was what in his last days he encouraged his friends to think.

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