Monday, August 6, 2012

von Stuck's Sisyphus

This is von Stuck's 1920 painting of Sisyphus.  It is an archetypal symbol.  Some say it represents hubris, but I prefer Camus' 1942 interpretation that "we must imagine Sisyphus happy."  Among the thoughts in Sisyphus' mind is probably how to best roll a rock uphill.  Instead of rolling it straight up, by taking a sideways route that switchbacks up the hill his load is less burdensome.  With some imagination, I think that is what von Stuck's Sisyphus is doing.  In any event, the focus is on the person of Sisyphus, who Camus leads us to believe is fully aware of the ultimate futility of his actions. 

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