Konstantin Skoptsov - Angels of the four elements rethinking the theme of tetramorph

Today we want to tell you about Konstantin Skoptsov’s works, presented to the public less than a month ago. Namely – about the quadriptych «Angels of the Four Elements». These are four paintings in the traditional (for «new Skoptsov» (since the 2000s)) mixed technique – color, ink, eco-leather. Traditionally large sizes (approximately 70 x 100 cm, hand-cut). The works «Angel of Man», «Angel of Taurus», «Angel of Eagle», «Angel of Lion» reveal one of the burning themes of world culture: the theme of tetramorph – four animals that appeared in a vision to the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel. In the New Testament, these creatures appear in a slightly modified form in the Apocalypse by John the Apostle. According to the artist Konstantin Skoptsov, tetramorph is one of the fundamental biblical subjects, although not only biblical, he emphasizes. «The symbols of the four beings permeate the entire theology and culture of human civilization,» the artist told us. «Four animals are four elements that make up everything that exists.» Konstantin added that the full range of meanings that these holy animals carry are transmitted orally in the most ancient philosophical societies, but this knowledge can be acquired bit by bit by studying the sacred texts of mankind. In particular, this topic is deeply revealed in the rabbinic Kabbalah, in the interpretations and commentaries to the book of the Zohar, but its roots go back to Babylonian mythology

«Angels of the Four Elements» is not Konstantin Skoptsov’s appeal to the topic of tetramorph. For the first time, four animals of Ezekiel appeared in his works back in the 90s, as part of the «Civilization» series.

Konstantin Skoptsov - series Civilization tetramorph

More than 40 works that make up the series represent the embodiment of biblical subjects in the traditional graphic way – ink on paper, in the black and white palette. A special feature was the size 100 by 70 cm. It was then that Konstantin Skoptsov first tried his hand at the role of a «monumental graphic artist», which from now on was firmly entrenched in him.

However, apart from the size, the critics had something to be surprised at. «Technically, these works looked very fresh, because I used an atypical «end brush» technique for graphics – a brush that was cropped to zero. Architects often use it, but it’s very unusual for artists,» Konstantin Skoptsov told Financoff.

The works of 1993 were called «Humanity», «Sacrifice», «Prayer» and «Kingship» – according to the qualities that symbolize sacred beings. According to the philosophical interpretation, humanity is embodied by the first man Adam, sacrifice – by a calf, prayer – by an eagle, and royalty – by a lion. In which you can also see the stages that a person goes through on the path to spiritual perfection.

Why did the artist Skoptsov turn to this topic again – so many years later? «Because it’s about the main thing. If you do not refer to this, then what should you refer to at all?..», he simply answered when we asked him.

The entire «Civilization» series has long settled in the private collectors’ hands, but you have the opportunity to see and purchase a new reading of the theme «Ezekiel’s Four Living Creatures» – the cycle «Angels of the Four Elements» on the artist’s website.


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