I'm exited to share the 8th print in my long running series concerning Russian literature.
The idiot is one of my favourites and I've been sketching various ideas out for the last few years but it finally clicked together over the last few weeks.
The idiot written in 1868 while Dostoevsky had left Russia to escape his debts, mostly written in Italy and Switzerland, while gambling away what little money him and his wife had on roulette tables.
Its regarded as one of his most personal novels, with the lead character also being subject to epileptic seizures like Dostoevsky him self .
The novel follows Prince Myshkin's return to Russia and entrance into the the Saint Petersburg society. Myshkin is written as a pure and selfless character while the others are often more complicated, His other worldliness attracts and complicates the situations.
for quickness, the Myshkin is the main portrait, Rogozhin is at the bottom and the cherubs are the children in Switzerland and in Russia who flock around the Myshkin recognising his uniqueness in comparison to the other adults.
Edition of 10
Strathmore textured 300gsm
Signed and numbered on the front, stamped on the back
£75 / $91 + S/H
Edition of 25
Gfsmith colorplan 275gsm
Signed and numbered on the front, Stamped on the back
£40 / $49 + S/H
Ok now onto the process.
I’ve sketched through multiple ideas concerning many different aspects of the novel over the years , but this line of thought started on a day trip to mount Stuart on the isle of Bute in Scotland, on the 17th of July. the building is a large society house, very decorative, the remote location reminded me of the Dacha’s in the novel, as mentioned the the building is very decorative, in both secular, science and christian imagery. and there i found multiple objects that I tied to the story ,
First up is a book plate from 1642 concerning the life of Mary queen of Scots. a Scottish queen who lived a complicated life often beyond her control becoming queen at 6 days old and eventually was ordered to be executed by her first cousin once removed queen Elizabeth the first, Although not similar the complicated nature linked Mary queen of Scots to Dostoevsky’s society beauty Nastasya Filippovna, who’s one of the lead characters of the novel.
second item was this stained glass window of the muse of astronomy at mount Bute, i had already decided to attempt to use the bookplate as part of my design, it hosts the christian iconography of the cherubs, so i wanted to contrast that iconography with the science imagery, i used this as a base for the body, hands and the star globe, as an attempt highlight Myshkin’s other worldliness, in comparison to what is going on around him.
The floor of the chapel at mount Stewart and the windows informed the decoration of tunic of Myshkin.
I tried a few different attempts at the face, i often went too feminine and early versions they were not working, i ended up going back to some of my research of my “the Prince “ print and i found a face that i felt worked in a Botticelli painting from 1475, “Adoration of the Magi” upon some extra research i discovered it was a portrait of Botticelli himself.
the painting is held at the Uffizi in Florence, and from some extra research from Joseph frank’s A writer in his time, a large biography on Dostoevsky he actually lived in Florence from 1868 november until September 1869 while he was writing The Idoit and his letter from the time mention visiting galleries, so its likely he saw this painting. I had already made these decisions to use this but my research made me double down on the decision
Process wise, i recently upgraded my setup to include a Wacom Cintiq 16 which you can draw straight on the screen with so the main body of the work was done on that, i experimented heavily with the composition redrawing large sections. i eventually finished the design, I ended up reworking a few sections directly onto the screen print separations using a scalpel blade to scrape away sections and ink to rework others before i transferred them to the screen itself using a photo emulsion process,
on the 27th of august i screenprinted them my self at the Glasgow print studio, they were cut down on the Wednesday and will be on sale on Friday the 30th of august 2019
the project was long and laboured on but i’m happy with how the printed ended up, and hopefully it will make people intrested in reading the novel