Tree of Knowledge
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Victor Bregeda has been exploring the human pursuit of knowledge throughout his artistic career. Tree of Knowledge takes this Bregeda tradition to the next level with a multipart philosophical vision that is united by one overarching idea.
A viewer’s journey begins with an observation of a tasteful still life arrangement: the wooden table, the stack of books, and a bouquet of roses tucked in the table’s drawer. The lightweight drape covering the table and the books serves as a divider that takes the viewer beyond the still life into the twilight of a serene landscape. The drape turns into a lake and gushes down from the table’s edge as a waterfall while boats are floating peacefully at the far distance.
The viewing sequence of these visual elements is not accidental. Both scenic realms, the still life and the landscape, take the viewer on a journey around the canvas and culminate at the majestic tree in the center. Devoid of leaves, the tree is bearing the book of knowledge in its crown. The branches skillfully conceal the silhouettes of the three faces. The first one rests his chin on the water surface, while the other two are hidden in the branches piercing through the book.
Arguably, all faces in the picture are men. This subtlety raises the question if Bregeda dismisses the connection with the Biblical motif. The linkage to the Garden of Eden still exists and is supported by the apple and the roses that add a touch of famine presence to the scene. However, the main idea of knowledge searching is exposed through the eyes of the person within the painting. He has searched human wisdom in the books and has discovered spiritual meaning in the tree. Now he is standing in front of a white canvas wondering how to apply this knowledge to his life.