Igor Samsonov, Lolita, c.2010

Samsonov’s style is reminiscent of Piero della Francesca, but the subject matter is contemporary. Here we have characters from Vladimir Nabokov’s classic 1955 book Lolita, about a girl in a sexual relationship with her stepfather Humbert, a hebephile (similar to a pedophile, but interested in pubescent children). In this picture we see the mother Charlotte seated and averting her gaze from her playfully seductive daughter Lolita, who offers Humbert a pomegranate, which some Jewish scholars postulate is the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden. The girl has a horn-shaped hat, associating her with witches and demons. The adult couple is well dressed, and symbols of their wealth sit on the table and hang from the cage, where a wise old owl looks upon the characters with condemnation. Unfortunately, the inscription at top left is not clear enough to make out.


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