Friday, May 20, 2011

Nose 29

Nose 29 is one of 30 drawings based on the Russian Novel and satirical opera, The Nose. Though the novel was written in 1836, Kentridge molded the story to illustrate the Russian Revolution in the time of Stalin (1920’s and 1930’s). The novel, written by Nikolai Gogol, takes you on the journey of bureaucrat Kovalyov, who wakes one morning to find that his nose is no longer a part of his face. In fact, it has gone on a stroll through St. Petersburg. Kovalyov goes hunting for his nose. He runs into it on numerous occasions, but doesn’t capture it successfully. One time he finds it at a cathedral, but the nose refuses to return to its keepers face. Unable to force it to return, Kovalyov realizes that it is because the nose has gained a higher social status, which is why it wont return. The story goes on to incorporate the law and its absurdity, all while following the nose and illustrating the abuse it has on its owner.

William’s prints make a wonderful storyboard to the opera. He illustrates the nose stealing a lover, another shows the nose putting on a tutu, there is also one where the nose consumes the face of Stalin and rides a horse at the same time he ponders the cause and effects that create art, politics and literature.


  1. I feel like the nose has a deeper meaning in the novel; perhaps it symbolizes the loss of identity, feeling incomplete, or maybe something more. I saw these drawings at the art museum but didn't think anything of them. Now that I know a little background on the Nose collection, I'd like to go back and look at them.

  2. I really like the background you provided because I had no knowledge on the nose. I find this very interesting and I like it a lot. I also feel like the nose has a deeper meaning. Maybe the nose wasn't gainging the identity it wanted being on the owner's face. The nose may have felt like it could get more out of the world being out alone to get more experience with it's own interests.