nicholas nicola etchings


The following is text for the above image which was inspired after playing a backgammon game at a Darlinghurst cafe in inner city Sydney  [...& going from dim memory occurred sometime in the latter half of the 1990s of the twentieth century...] or thereabouts]. There was one backgammon piece missing in the set that we had. However, when we had finally finished our games  the piece that had been missing had made a mysterious appearance! There is no way of deducing where it had come from! Obviously a divine act! All the best.



*Based on a true event.

Gouache on paper.19cm x 20cm. Rozelle market frame ‘restored’ by artist.

This work fits better in the tradition of early Renaissance painting rather than in the Byzantine icon tradition. The mountain landscape and sky scene in the background creates a sense of spatial depth not usual in icons. However, the Byzantine tradition is more or less followed in the sense that this image captures the eternal moment when both saints have realised that an extra white counter has materialised in the backgammon set. St. Kristina holds the piece in her hand and which appeared at the end of playing their last game. (The game was played in an inner-city cafe in Sydney). By the knee of St. Nicholas are the dice with the numbers three and one. Three and One are both divine numbers often dealing in the Christian tradition of the Trinity of the Godhead and One with the concept of Unity with the Eternal. The apparition of the white counter brings up suggestions of unity between the opposite but connected realms of the Godhead and the Creation. This promotes the idea of a Final Synthesis between the Physical and Spiritual to ring about a Total Unity in All Known and Unknown Reality. There is also a sense of the Eternal in the gold backgammon board. Thus the game represents human intelligence involving itself in the Finite and Infinite processes of dealing with Fate; and the interconnecting effect of divine action and human decision in affecting courses of our own life and to a resolution to the ultimate issue between life and death and to the realisation that such a resolution brings us into contact with the Infinite Eternal which we as Finite Beings mostly desire. Our saints discourse with their Human Intelligence (which we must remember was created from the Divine) with the Eternal and Fate every time they play backgammon. In the immediate background it is the scene of a Grecian cafe bringing up connotations of a Mediterranean point of view towards life (this attitude is best summed up in the writings of Mediterraneans such as Nikos Kazantsakis and Marcus Aurelius). Whilst beyond the arch which serves almost as a window to the Eternal there is the mountain landscape which surrounds the Tibetan town of Xiahe in western China. In Xiahe our two protagonists experienced the Tibetan New Year (which was like walking into the colourful unconscious realms of a Kandinsky painting and into the divine glory of any Blake work) in their travels and which was a reminder of the issues between Human and Divine Fate discussed here. Lastly, we note on the backgammon board the maps of Cyprus and Lithuania which is a point of reference to the human heritage of our two saints. Here in ends a summary of this image.

(Please note that St. Ch/Kristina day is December 5 and St. Nicholas Day is December 6).


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