11 October 2007
11 October 2007
An Austrian artist named Alfred Kubin completed The Last King in 1903. He used ink on paper. The foreground of the picture shows a skeleton dressed in king’s clothes with his head down and legs crossed. In the middleground, which is on the right of the paper has a group of men in cloaks and one of them is holding some sort of pitch fork with something on the top that is smoking. In the background, there is empty space with slight shades around the skeleton and the upper right corner.
This painting has a very surreal and symbolic feel to it. It is surreal because of how the texture of all the figures is somewhat realistic which the actual subject is unrealistic. It is symbolic because of how the king is a skeleton instead of a human with skin and muscles. The skeleton king in his white robe contrasts with the chair and the crowd around him which makes him stand out more.
I believe that Kubin drew this picture to mark the end of kings in a symbolic way. When people think of skeletons, they usually associate them with dead people. This fits perfectly with how it is to symbolize the fall or “death” of kings. I think that it’s safe to assume that Kubin had an interest in politics in somewhat of a progressive way.
I like this painting because it has a deeper meaning that is still accessible to a common viewer as opposed to some other works of art that if you weren’t told the story behind it, you wouldn’t have the slightest idea what’s going on. He gets his message across very clearly which I think is an important part of drawing.
Kubin, Alfred. The Last King. 1903. Museum of Modern Art. Moma.Org. 10 Oct. 2007