Visualization of the Legend of Mazepa: substance, genesis, evolution, traditional and modern interpretations






 The omnipresence of modern technologies and free access to information granted to general public facilitated demythologization of our history, refutation of ingrained archaic stereotypes and propagation of historical knowledge and better understanding of intellectual and cultural heritage. However, lack of systemic approach to processing of the information found, partial coverage of disparate topics and blatant ignorance of how the source interpretations evolved, repeated public indoctrination with second-hand interpretations (i.e. referring to previous interpretations) without explanation of the original semantics of text or image, as well as pathological graphorrhea of certain authors promoted by facilities and resources of numerous social networks, all result in profanation of the epistemological process. In certain cases, this situation is aggravated by the controversy embedded in the written or visual source itself, as well as by the intentional or unintentional bias against a certain historical figure described or depicted by the source, that is smothered in the current confrontation between different myth-making systems or information war. This article exposes the core and sources of the so-called "Hippolytus legend" and its visualization in the XVII-XIX paintings. It puts under scrutiny when and under what circumstances this work of ancient literature transformed into "the Legend of Mazepa". It also exposes the evolution in ХІХ - ХХІ centures of the new edition of the romantic legend presented by the literature, works of fine arts and decorative and applied arts. Various versions of traditional visual interpretations have been analysed along with the underlying reasoning and causes for the emergence of contemporised visual presentation of the well-known image of Mazepa tied to the horse’s croup. The semantic modifications of so-called distorted images of "modern Mazepas" have also been exposed. The historical figures had been most often branded as "modern Mazepas" have also been put under scrutiny. Such a detailed analysis of both Mazepa's literary and visual image and the peculiarities of the emergence and subsequent interpretations of the "Mazepa's lore" are crucial for understanding of the ancient texts and images that are not always correctly interpreted nowadays, thus spawning numerous new fabrications and myths.






Modern and Contemporary art

How to Cite

Visualization of the Legend of Mazepa: substance, genesis, evolution, traditional and modern interpretations. (2021). Text and Image: Essential Problems in Art History, 2(6).