“Art instills harmony and order into the soul, not confusion and disorder”- N.V. Gogol. Although Gogol made this statement, his work Dead Souls is disorderly and leaves the reader wondering ’What did I just read?’ It is because of this question that many scholars and critics have interpreted the work in a variety of ways. A labyrinth of disarray and disorder, Gogol’s novel Dead Souls leaves its audience in a state of confusion and shock.
While there is confusion about the meaning of the work, critics agree that Gogol’s artistic methods are non-conventional. In this presentation, I will describe how Gogol uses the “estrangement” technique to make the familiar unfamiliar. A discussion of this technique, along with an analysis of his use of light imagery and exaggeration, will enlighten the audience on how Gogol presents the absurdities of life and refreshes the reader’s own reality.
In addition, I will present a series of illustrations I created that were inspired by the novel. Through my reinvention of the aesthetics of the characters, the audience will understand the visual power of Gogol’s work.
The audience will be able to gain insight on the artist’s process in creating the characters of Dead Souls, along with scenery. The characters who have complex stories of life and its struggles speak to us on a universal level, but they also paint a picture of Russian comedy and satire rarely seen by foreigners.
This talk shares the beauty of Gogol’s pictorial art within Dead Souls, along with sharing original artwork inspired by the work.
Kayla Morton, ’16
Sponsor: Lynne Ikach