The Snowman and the Butcher

The Snowman and the Butcher by Martijn Benders is a striking and thought-provoking painting that captures the viewer’s attention with its bold and unconventional style. The painting depicts a scene in which a snowman, standing tall and proud in the center of the canvas, is surrounded by three dogs – one standing on its hind legs, one sitting on its hind legs, and one bending down in a playful pose. The backdrop of the painting is a stark, snowy landscape, with a lone tree standing tall in the distance.

The first thing that stands out about this painting is its striking use of color. The snowman is depicted in vibrant shades of blue, green, and yellow, with bright red buttons and a carrot nose adding pops of color to the composition. The dogs, on the other hand, are painted in more muted shades of brown and grey, blending into the snowy landscape and drawing the viewer’s attention towards the snowman.

The style of the painting is heavily influenced by Russian art, with clear references to the works of famous Russian painters such as Ivan Shishkin and Isaac Levitan. Like these artists, Benders has captured the harsh, unforgiving beauty of the Russian winter, using bold brushstrokes and bright, vibrant colors to bring the scene to life. The snowman’s pose, with its arms outstretched and head held high, is reminiscent of the heroic figures often depicted in Russian art, while the dogs’ playful antics add a touch of whimsy and levity to the scene.

One of the most intriguing elements of the painting is the presence of the three dogs. The dog standing on its hind legs, with its head cocked to one side and its eyes fixed on the snowman, seems to be engaging in some sort of communication with the frozen figure. The dog sitting on its hind legs, meanwhile, looks on with a curious expression, as if it is trying to understand what is happening. The third dog, which is bending down in a playful pose, adds a sense of movement and energy to the scene.

The presence of these three dogs serves to add depth and meaning to the painting. On one hand, they represent the human desire to connect with and understand the natural world. The dogs’ curious and engaging poses suggest that they are trying to communicate with the snowman, perhaps seeking some kind of understanding or connection with this strange and mysterious figure.

But let’s not forget about the butcher, the unsung hero of this painting. With its more muted and realistic appearance, the butcher serves as a foil to the imaginative and playful snowman. It represents the practical and rational side of human nature, a contrast to the creative and imaginative snowman.

So what does it all mean? Well, that’s for you to decide, dear reader. But one thing is certain: The Snowman and the Butcher is a true work of art that will leave you pondering its deeper meanings long after you’ve left the museum. And who knows, you might even find yourself quoting the great literary minds of the past as you try to unravel the mysteries of this painting. “To be or not to be, that is the question,” Shakespeare might say, as he gazes upon the snowman and the butcher. Or perhaps Dostoevsky would weigh in with a more philosophical take: “The snowman and the butcher, a tale of two sides of human nature.” Only time will tell.

Martijn Benders has published twenty-six books, eighteen of which are in Dutch. He has been named one of the greatest talents of his time by critics like Komrij and Gerbrandy. He has also written three philosophical works, one of which is in English about the Amanita Muscaria, the Fly Agaric. Publishing on the international stage of The Philosophical Salon, he has also gained international recognition as one of the most remarkable thinkers from the Netherlands.