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David Alexander Smith's Paintings and Drawings


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Dionysus 1999
Pen on Paper 21x29cm

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About the Picture

I chose the classical theme of the destruction of Dionysus after reading Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy.  My interpretation of the narrative owes little else to the text other than as a starting point or inspiration.  The body of the dead god lies in the wood, opened out and in the process of being rendered.  The wind, viewed as an old man, sucks out all the warmth from his corpse.  A mother steals away his fertility in the form of a child: himself reborn in death.  Flabby faced a rounded man rummages through the intestines, whilst a spiritual girl prays for the future.  Another woman enters from the left with a bucket to collect the flow of blood.  A goblet stands to be filled.  Guiding the whole operation stands Silenus the satyr, proclaiming his logic: “it is best never to have been born, and second best to die soon.”  In the dark boughs of the forest, the irrational force of a fierce world grows into a monstrous fašade.  But even in destruction, the creative spirit of Dionysus caresses, seducing the mother of the girl who gathers blood: her daughter cries.

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