Monday, April 27, 2009

Kacper Bożek: "The Seventh Proof" (Bulgakov)

"The Seventh Proof"
(Image from Master & Margarita)

In continuing to search for views on what Mikhail Bulgakov meant the "the seventh proof" of God's existence, I've found nothing yet that's worth reporting, so I'm still torn between 'proof' as true prediction of death in the novel and 'proof' as personal experience of death for everyone. But I did find something that might interest anyone who likes Bulgakov's Master and Margarita.

The above work of art by Kacper Bożek, an etching made using the aquatint technique, depicts the famous scene just before the close of chapter 3 in The Master and Margarita, where Berlioz is soon to encounter the seventh proof of God's existence but first encounters one of Satan's retinue, the buffoonish demon Koroviev (aka Fagotto):
'Are you looking for the turnstile, sir?' enquired the check-clad man in a quavering tenor. 'This way, please! Straight on for the exit. How about the price of a drink for showing you the way, sir? . . . church choirmaster out of work, sir . . . need a helping hand, sir . . . .' Bending double, the weird creature pulled off his jockey cap in a sweeping gesture. ( Michael Glenny, The Master and Margarita, Chapter 3, London: Collins and Harvill Press, 1967)
Rather astonishing description by Bulgakov . . . and for an astonishing image of the artist Bożek who captured this scene so well, see the very next image below:

Kacper Bożek
(Image from Nautilus)

According to the Nautilus website, Kacper Bożek was born in 1974 in Krakow and graduated form the Graphic Department of the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, working under Professor Stanisław Wejman in the Copper Engraving and Lithography Studio. He devoted his graduation work under Wejman to depicting the characters of Bulgakov's novel in a three-year-long effort resulting in twelve prints, one of which is the etching above, "The Seventh Proof."

Bożek seemingly interprets Streetcar Nr. 7 -- bearing down on the spot where Berlioz will soon lie stretched out to die -- as the seventh proof's physical manifestation, but whether that signifies the truth of the Satanic Woland's prediction (available to all observers) or the experience of death itself (available only to Berlioz), I know not.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home