Ekaterina Gogoleva

In September, 28, 2010, at the International Conference ‘Shakespeare Readings 2010’ devoted to 100th anniversary of the birth of distinguished Shakespeare expert A.A. Anikst, the artist’s biographer Ekaterina Gogoleva gave a speech ‘Shakespeare’s reminiscences in the art of A.D. Tikhomirov’. Following the speech audience posed questions to the spokesperson and expressed various views on the art of the painter. In particular, one of interesting comments came from academic secretary of the Shakespeare Commission, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) N.V. Zakharov, who expressed a preposition that ‘Alexander Dmitrievich was possibly inspired not by the Shakespeare’s writings alone, but by the works of William Blake, as there are signs referring us to the books of the latter in Tikhomirov’s paintings’. Members of the organizing committee and the conference participants expressed their willingness to continue fruitful cooperation with the Artist’s Heritage Foundation.


The report reviews the plays of Shakespeare which have been reflected in the art of A.D. Tikhomirov. It studies the characters of an Exile and Motley, as well as the theme ‘All the world’s a stage’ in the pictorial and graphic art of neoclassic period. The report also traces development of the themes ‘life is a theatre’ and ‘life is a dream’ in the works of Shakespeare. It gives an analysis of the motives of dreams in A.D. Tikhomirov’s works. (collection of annotations to the reports of the International Scientific Conference ‘Shakespeare Readings 2010’. Moscow, publishing house of the Moscow Humanitarian University, 2010).

Full text of the report

An exhibition of art and graphic works of the Moscow artist Alexander Dmitrievich Tikhomirov (1916-1995) took place at the Moscow exhibition hall ‘Gallery A3’ in 2009. Paintings and graphics displayed at the exhibition were devoted to theatre and circus themes.

A.D. Tikhomirov was born and brought up in Baku, studied at the Pictorial Art Department of the Baku Art College and at the workshop of I.G. Ryzhenko (the student of I.E. Repin).

Performances at Baku circus and theatres were one of the strongest impressions of the young years of A.D. Tikhomirov1. Among others, the theatres of Baku performed such dramas of William Shakespeare as ‘Othello’, ‘Romeo and Juliette’, ‘The Twelfth Night’ and ‘Hamlet’ [13].

During the Great Patriotic War Tikhomirov was released from mobilization due to blindness of the right eye, worked on promotional posters and portraits of the war heroes. In 1944 he was admitted to the Moscow Art Institute named after Surikov to the workshop of A.A. Osmyorkin (the student of I.I. Mashkov, member of the ‘Jack of Diamonds’), however, was expelled on the 4th year of studies for ‘formalistic’ trends in the art.

From 1949 to 1976 Tikhomirov worked at the Monumental-Decorative Art Concern, being involved in festive decoration of Moscow city – was making the portraits of V.I. Lenin, decorated the V.I. Lenin State Library. Among his works is famous portrait of V.I. Lenin painted by the artist for decoration of the frontage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for which he has been awarded with the Golden Medal at the Visual Propaganda Exhibition held at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements.

However that was life of the artist in the official art. As noticed by the art expert I. Reshetnikova, ‘nowadays we may say that the artist lived two lives. One of them was a ‘front’ life, and the other – secret life, which was a confessionary, a true one’. [15]. Indeed, official orders gave Tikhomirov required financial independence, allowing him to work on his art.

But the main place in his art life belonged to his work on paintings and graphic sheets, which could not be demonstrated to the wide audience, as during the Soviet times it was impossible to exhibit the art works not fitting under the standards of social realism and the views on the modern art which have been prevailing those days.  First exhibition of the artist’s works took place only in the time of perestroika (1987).

We are providing such a detailed description of the facts of Tikhomirov’s biography as only clear view of the artist’s life path allows us understanding why for many years his art has only been known to a narrow circle of friends, art experts and collectors, who have highly appreciated Tikhomirov’s art already in those years.

Having passed through realistic, impressionist, post-impressionist and fauvist stages of his art development, Tikhomirov has chosen bright and unique style typical for works of his late neo-classic period (1970-1990) [V.A. Matveev, 11].

In this article we are appealing to the art and graphic works of this very period, as creation of many of Alexander Dmitrievich’s works has been inspired by the writings of the great English play writer William Shakespeare, so much admired by the artist.

The works of William Shakespeare reflected in the art of Tikhomirov

As noticed by the Doctor of Philosophy, academician of the International Academy of Sciences (IAS) N.V. Zakharov, ‘many of the master’s paintings are filled with reminiscences from the works of William Shakespeare’. Though only few titles of the pictures give direct reference to the writings of the Swan of Avon, many of them are filled with Shakespeare’s coloring, visual thesaurus of the dramatist and overall sense of renaissance drama. After all, the title character of A.D. Tikhomirov’s works is a Person’. [3].

Indeed, the titles of only few paintings, in particular ‘Shakespeare’s melodies (medieval motley)’ directly point at reference of the artist to the dramas of Shakespeare. However, many of Tikhomirov’s neo-classical works reflected impressions of the artist from the writings of the great play writer – tragedies ‘King Lear’, ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’, comedies ‘As You Like It’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, drama ‘The Tempest’ and the sonnets, among which Tikhomirov liked the 6th and the 66th most of all.  We should never say that the artist has been creating some kind of monumental illustrations to the works of Shakespeare. Being inspired by the Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, he lived through and rethought eternal questions of being, reflected in the art of the play writer. The works of Shakespeare to some extent or the other inspired Tikhomirov for creation of such paintings as ‘Exile’, ‘Pilgrim’, ‘Walking’, ‘Prisoner’ (1970-1980-es), ‘Theatre’, ‘Theatric scene’, ‘Pantomime (theatric scene)’, ‘White dream’, ‘Actors by the table’, ‘The feast of actors’, ‘Theatric vespers’ (1980-1990-es); as well as such graphic works as ‘Insane’, ‘Old man’, ‘Pilgrim’, ‘Feast of actors’, ‘Sad motley’, ‘Theatric scene’, ‘Theatre’, ‘Dream’, and a series of works named ‘Motley’, ‘Clown’, etc. It is not for a pure coincidence that these titles are repeating. The issues of a person’s life purpose, life and death of his soul worried Tikhomirov and made him appeal again and again to the characters and themes which were close to the ones of Shakespeare’s. These are the characters of an Exile (Pilgrim, Outcast) and Motley, as well as an all-encompassing theme ‘The whole world is a theatre…’

The characters of an Exile and a Motley

‘King Lear’ and ‘Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark’ have been A.D. Tikhomirov’s favorite writings of William Shakespeare. The theme of an exile, whose own will or circumstances made him oppose himself to the society, has been reflected in many of the artist’s works, with typical creative interpretation of the Shakespeare’s characters.

Such paintings as ‘Exile’ and ‘Pilgrim’, as well as graphic sheets ‘Insane’ and ‘Old man’ refer us to the tragic character of King Lear and his monologue:

‘Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,

That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,

How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,

Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you

From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en

Too little care of this!’ [22].

(Lear, Act III, Scene 4. ‘King Lear’. Translated by A.V. Druzhinina)

‘King Lear’ tragedy is one of the greatest creations of Shakespeare, which differs from its sources ‘first and foremost by raising a humane, typically Shakespeare’s problem. Lear on the throne, surrounded by the glitter of the court is far away from terrifying reality behind the walls of the castle. In a midnight steppe, being for the first time exposed to reality, Lear’s eyes open up…’ [M.M. Morozov, 12].

The graphic ‘Pilgrim’ (1970) gives more clear reference to the tragedy: main depicted characters are a sad Pilgrim and two women – don’t these characters reechoing with the ones of the old king and his two daughters who betrayed him and must vagabond?

Hamlet is one more Shakespeare’s character playing a significant role for Tikhomirov. The artist’s paintings ‘Walking’ and ‘Castaway and the crowd’ are closely associated with this Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Let us once more refer to M.M. Morozov: ‘Hamlet calls a person ‘the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals’. However, at the royal castle he is surrounded by rude people, close-minded in their dull complacency:

What is a man,

If his chief good and market of his time

Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more. [20].

(Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 4. ‘Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark’. Translated by B. Pasternak)

This contrast between a dream and a reality often caused a feeling of deep sorrow, painful dissatisfaction with oneself, painful restless anxiety. Hamlet is all in a fluster, he is in a constant search. He looks at life with clear eyes: otherwise he wouldn’t be suffering so much’. [M.M. Morozov, 12].

Hamlet is seen by the other people as an obsessed person, whose spiritual moves are beyond understanding of self-possessed, criminal people perceiving it as signs of insanity. According to G.M. Kozintsev [9], ‘Shakespeare saw the reality as a kingdom of deceit and a fake. He perceived social relations as inhumane and insane ones’.

Characters of Tikhomirov’s paintings ‘Obsessed’, ‘Castaway and the crowd’ (both created in 1979), ‘Walking’ and ‘Pilgrim’, as well as of the ‘Exile’ graphics (1978) must vagabond in search of asylum, being rejected by the society and considered to be insane, not being such in reality. It doesn’t need much of an effort to imagine what brings them to this suffers – denial by the society, their otherness and unwillingness to live according to the laws of a double-faced crowd. Who are in fact insane – crazy pilgrims, denied loners, or those who are spiritually blind, expelling and persecuting them? This is the question posed by the artist.

‘Shakespeare remains faithful to the law of contrasts’ – says M.M. Morozov [12]. Tikhomirov builds his compositions on contrasts, not only of a pictorial nature, but first and foremost based on opposing the psychological features of people.

Reverting to the artist’s biography, we may clearly see that the theme of a person and a crowd has always played an important role for him. Tikhomirov has not been an exile in direct meaning of this word, however, his art, his world outlook, perception of a person and his destination, depths of his psychics, have always been opposed to the canons existing in the art and the life views which prevailed. Not joining the groups and movements existing in 1960-70-es, he was one of those artists-loners who strived to develop their own original painting style and had their own opinion about the art and its tasks. That is why the themes of Shakespeare’s tragedies are so close to him – the great play writer has always put the world of a human soul beyond everything. And the character if an Exile created by the artist is tragic, but at the same time full of inner strength and energy.

Another not less complex psychological character of Tikhomirov’s works on theatrical themes is a Motley. The Motley as such is a very important character for the author, both in the theatre and in life. It is not for pure coincidence that appearance of the Motley was preceded by creation of a character of an Exile by Tikhomirov – motleys have always been exiles in the society. ‘Clowns and insane have been denied There was not place in the society for them. They were out of life. Only their stupidity as a funny sort of disease could feed them‘. [G. Kozintsev, 9].

The character of a Motley plays an important role in the art of Shakespeare. In his times of monarchy, distinguished noblemen kept motleys by their courts, to entertain them with various jokes. At the same time the motley is a target for mockery by the noblemen. However, amongst all the valetry he is the only one who is allowed to address the master as a friend, often disparagingly or in derision. The monarchs believed this was a very funny buffoonery. However the motleys possessed an exclusive right to speak the truth without any consequences.

‘Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines everywhere’, – says the motley in the ‘Twelfth Night’. And melancholic Jaques in ‘As You Like It’ comedy dreams of wearing the costume of a motley to ‘clean the world from malice through satiric mockery’ [A.A. Anikst, 2]:

‘Invest me in my motley; give me leave

To speak my mind, and I will through and through

Cleanse the foul body of the infected world…’ [21]

(Jaques, Act II, Scene 7. ‘As You Like It’. Translated by P. Weinberg)

According to M.M. Morozov, ‘The character of a Motley in ‘King Lear’ is utterly and completely created by the Shakespeare. It is amazing that under mottle, buffoon clothes of a motley Shakespeare discovered a bright mind and a big heart’ [12]. Indeed, the Motley from ‘King Lear’ does not abandon the master betrayed by his daughters. The clown Touchstone from ‘As You Like It’ comedy follows Rosalind and Celia in their self-imposed exile, being their loyal friend. ‘More than anything Shakespeare hated hypocrisy… the motley of Shakespeare is not bound hand and foot by the relations of the surrounding society’ – says M.M. Morozov [12].

In ‘King Lear’ ‘the only sane person is a motley, a fool since the old times people are used to hear the most sensible ideas from someone who was considered to be the most stupid. Rightless motley turned into a denunciator. Foolish fun often turned into derision of everything which should be honored’. [G.M. Kozintsev, 9].

Psychological profile of a Motley, a Clown keeps engaging the artist’s thoughts. Over decades Tikhomirov often returns to this character, creating such paintings as ‘Tragic clown’ (1960), ‘Portrait of a clown’ (1970-es), ‘Clown with the fives’ (1976). ‘Shakespeare’s melodies (medieval motley)’ (1984), ‘Clown with the balls’ (1985); series of graphic sheets ‘Clown’ (1990), ‘Motley’ (1993),  graphics ‘Sad Motley’ (1984), ‘Clown and a parrot’ (1994), ‘Clown and a black cat’ (1994).

As the artist used to say, ‘The Motley belongs to the society – he is the one telling the truth in your face’. Shakespeare’s motley laughs at stupidity of people from underneath his mask, the artist also believes that the motley is the only observer, giving an external evaluation of the performance called life.

While during the 1970-es the artist depicts exiles (pilgrims, obsessed) and the motleys (clowns, acrobats) as separate characters, in 1980-1990-es they become heroes of his multi-figure compositions and live and act in his works reflecting one of the key themes in Tikhomirov’s art – the theme of a person who takes off the mask to cognize himself and acquire inner freedom.

‘All the world’s a stage…’ theme

As noticed by the friend of the artist, V.A. Matveev, the collector, the art of Tikhomirov is ‘characterized by thinking about the destinies of humankind, significance and greatness of ‘simple’ verities: …‘world’, ‘decency’, ‘prisoner’. His works pose global tasks – place and destination of a person on Earth… Depiction of an artistic environment gives broader opportunities for emotional discovery of the human destinies, expanding the frames of a spectator’s associative perception…’ [11].

‘Shakespeare and his contemporaries, – says A.A. Anikst, – perceived the world as colossal theatric stage on which grand performance of life of the human kind was unfolding:

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts’.

(Jaques, Act II, Scene 7. ‘As You Like It’. Translated by T. Shchepkina-Kupernik)

Creator of this theatre, and its only spectator is the God himself’ [2].

Massive gallery of the live characters created by the play writer strikes with its diversity. Among them are the motleys – carriers of the wisdom of people, philosophers. At that, ‘when creating a character Shakespeare often opposes the ‘clothes’ to the ‘nature’ he mercilessly rips off the ‘clothes’, as if making it naked, showing us true nature of a person’  [M.M. Morozov, 12].

Famous Shakespeare’s phase ‘All the world’s a stage…’ may be to a full extent applied to Tikhomirov’s works devoted to the theatre. They depict motleys and beautiful dames, musicians and actors, playing the roles of evildoers, jeune premiers, angels, demons, priests, liars, hypocrites (cognominal paintings and graphics ‘Theatric scene’, ‘Theatre’, paintings ‘Pantomime (‘theatric scene’), ‘Theatric vespers’, ‘Feast of the actors’, ‘Actors by the table’, ‘Players’, ‘Clown with the balls’, graphic ‘Repast of the actors’ (1966)).

They are playing massive life performance, but most of them are depicted with their eyes closed, as if they are steeped in a deep dream or slumber. However, on each picture there are characters whose eyes are wide open, who observe what is taking place as external viewers. They see life of people in a true light – without theatric spangle and gilding, see their ‘nature’ without ‘clothes’. First of all these are the motleys – those who are not afraid of telling the truth in the face of those trying to turn a blind eye to it. These may be the masks thrown on the floor or puppets, or parrots with the cards in their beak. By depicting the characters with their eyes closed Tikhomirov gave the most important meaning to his works, which may be read differently: as unwillingness to see the surrounding reality, rejection of it; and as an appeal to the subconscious:

‘Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul;

And there I see such black and grained spots

As will not leave their tinct!’

(Gertrude, Act III, Scene 3. “hamlet, the Prince of Denmark’. Translated by B. Pasternak),

This move may also be explained as a symbolic depiction of gaining the inner sight. The sighted can be spiritually blind; those who went blind may see the light. Here we may recall the words of Gloucester from ‘King Lear’:

‘I have no way, and therefore want no eyes;

I stumbled when I saw: full oft ’tis seen,

Our means secure us, and our mere defects

Prove our commodities…’

(Gloucester, Act IV, Scene 1. ‘King Lear’. Translated by M. Kuzmin).

Having lost his eye sight, Gloucester started seeing the light. ‘Poetic idea of incompliance between the eye-sight and seeing goes as a red thread throughout entire development of the Gloucester’s character. The advisor of Lear has healthy eyes, but saw nothing. Comparison with the deeds of a blind person is applied to everything what he does’. [G.M. Kozintsev, 9].

It is interesting how A.D. Tikhomirov masterfully reflected this poetic idea in one of his pictures, ‘Tragic clown’, where he refers to his own life as well. In his young years Tikhomirov damaged his right eye, having lost his eye sight. Left eye of the clown depicted on the picture is blind, and the right one is seeing – which is a kind of a mirror reflection of dramatic events in the artist’s life, which at the same time points at incompliance between the eye-sight and seeing.

It has to be noticed that Tikhomirov never commented his paintings. We think that the main reason for such ‘silence’ is that he wanted to give a spectator full freedom of perception and formation of own opinion. None of Tikhomirov’s works, either devoted to the theme of theatre or exile, could be read unambiguously, as the artist was putting several meanings in them, several philosophic subtexts. For instance, on his painting ‘Feast of actors’ young woman, looking in the mirror sees an old face there. And again we are facing an ambiguous meaning of the character: whether it is her own anility looking at the woman from the mirror, or maybe it’s her true ‘self’?

According to I. Reshetnikova, ‘the author is attracted by denudation of the human essence in the moments when eternal professional and life flow stop. Having taken off their role ‘masks’ the characters are often depicted as tired and old people The artist underlines that scenic performance takes up a significant part of life, the play takes energy and not leaving anything behind – only the emptiness and the shell’. [15].

Painful search of their own ‘self’ by the characters of his paintings, spiritual tiredness and emptiness after performance, a dream, giving a temporary release from everlasting buffoonery, and a dream as reference to the mysteries of subconscious, obtaining of the inner vision – all of these meanings are layering on top of each other in the works of the artist. And none of them can be torn out of the general context without ruining the whole.

Let us refer to the memories of the artist’s daughter, Anna Tikhomirova: ‘At the first glance at the paintings one gets struck by a complicated spacious structure, an acute asymmetry in the composition, chaos of objects that make up the unique musical ornament, astonishing characters dressed in medieval costumes. What is it all about? All are there – the king, the beautiful dame and the clowns. Shakespearean motives, existential theme. Having only stood in front of the paintings for several minutes, you feel that you are facing a display of a human inner world, of the profound layers of psychics… The artist communicates with the subconscious through contact with his own inner world… Shakespeare’s 66th sonnet, so much admired by the artist, is the best epigraph to this series of works.

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,

And captive good attending captain ill...
(Sonnet 66. Translated by O. Roumer)

Take a closer look at the reckless whirl of objects on the paintings. Almost all of them have lost their traditional meanings, have changed places: bottles and cards have soared into the air, the king’s crown is whirling on the clown’s shin. This is how false values get profaned. Almost every picture has a scull: here, it is a dance of the death with flying sculls; there, it is an empty-eyed scull among the mannequin-like people with their eyes shut. Strangely dressed people tend to be deeply sleeping, their eyelids are closed, and awake are only… the dolls, which stare at the spectator with their lively and wise eyes. And again we face an unconscious guess of the master for ages: a doll has symbolized intuition. Fanciful pattern of the paintings conceives an iron, almost classical compositional framework. Phosphorescent paint – powerful ornamentality, monumentality and at the same time deep philosophicity, the broadest coverage of life problems – that’s what his paintings are striking the viewers with…’ [11].

It is not for a pure coincidence that in his art devoted to the theatre pastose coloring of the 1990-es is replaced by a smooth surface, which reminds one of a medieval painting.

Whimsicality of the postures, in which the characters of Tikhomirov’s paintings have frozen, deliberate deformation of the parts of the body, interlacement of the figures are not only meant to underline the contrivedness as the essence of the actors’ performance, transformation of the actor with every new role (mask), staginess of everything which happens. They also reflect psychological condition of the characters – inner spiritual crack along with external grotesque festivity of the action performed by them, controvercity of wishes; strive to break through the limits enforced by the society and their own roles. The figures are motionless, however, one may feel inner dynamics, typical for every work of Tikhomirov.

According to the artist R.L. Apresyan, ‘first and foremost in Tikhomirov’s art is the theme of a person, the theme of being and the theme of a person in this being, with eternally present leitmotif – laughter through the tears. His works are full of clowns, buffoonage, harlequins, theatre and circus. However, despite all of this festive, everything is filled with deep, acute drama; the artist discovers the inner world of a person, and it is capturing to observe human theatre depicted on his paintings’.

It is interesting to draw attention to one more specifics of Tikhomirov’s works, referring to the ‘Globe’ theatre as such, as well as the composition of its stage.

‘Imagine a large space surrounded by high wooden wall, – writes M.M. Morozov, – Inside of this space there is a crowd of spectators from among simple people… and the servants of distinguished overlords. The walls are surrounded by the galleries with seats for prosperous citizens, and loges, where… grand people are sitting. Scaffold of the stage breaks straight into the crowd… Decorations, in the modern meaning of this word, were non-existent: the tree in a tub depicted the forest, a table with flasks and glasses on it – the tavern’. [12].

‘The performance took place on three stages and two levels simultaneously, to which an inner court could be added…, – notices E.I. Parnov. – The entire playing space was used during the performance, without any breaks for change of non-existent decorations. Special dodgy devices with ropes and blocks were used for appearance of winged celestials and other otherworldly creatures… Dark forces… appeared from the hatches, connected with the ‘underworld’ straight beneath the proscenium It was the “Globe’ theatre were the rolling circle was used for the first time’ [14].

Figures of the characters on Tikhomirov’s paintings are entwining in the movement which looks chaotic from the outside; however, the movement on the theatric stage has a strictly defined composition, as if impending towards the spectators. There are practically no decorations, except for those paintings where the characters are depicted as actors sitting by the table (‘Theatric vespers’, ‘Actors by the table’, ‘Feast of the actors’, ‘Secret vespers’). On the paintings ‘Theatre’ and ‘Theatric scene’, as well as on the cognominal graphic sheets we can see removed curtain, the space is split into the levels, similar to the ones of the ‘Globe’ theatre, mentioned by E.I. Parnov. Pointing fingers, angels are appearing in the ‘skies’; dark forces and devils are diving into hatches in the proscenium, and in the middle of it there is a mottle crowd of characters playing their roles.

‘Life is a theatre’ a ‘life is a dream’ themes in the writings of William Shakespeare. Motive of dreams in the works of A.D. Tikhomirov

Paintings and graphic works on the theatric theme, created by the artist, have one distinguishing feature: the characters are steeped in a dream, a slumber. The titles of only a few paintings give direct reference to this condition – graphics ‘Dream’ (1984), paintings ‘Phosphorescent dream’ (1985) and ‘White dream’ (1983). However, the motive of a dream remains to be the key one in all the works devoted to the theatre. This theme is developed in the works of the artist in parallel to the theme ‘Life is a theatre’, like in Shakespeare’s writings.

The theme ‘All the world’s a stage’ announced by the play writer, found its reflection in all of his creations, at that, the characters, upon their free choice, often take additional roles apart from the main ones they’ve been assigned in the play (‘Hamlet’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’). This gives an illusion of eternal staginess in the people’s lives, also pointing at a narrow verge between a person and a mask which he wears and which he merges with’ [O. Dormidontova, 8].

Along with this theme Shakespeare develops the theme ‘Life is a dream’. In his times dreams were often used as a dramatic means of depicting connection of a person with upper powers, in order to reinforce the expressiveness of theatric action. The characters of Shakespeare’s play often undergo various metamorphoses in their dreams, which may eventually transfer into reality, changing their life; a dream creates an atmosphere of occultness, adding a mystic flavor, also being an additional information source [8, 17].

The theme ‘life is a dream’ in the art of the play writer has three main directions: presentation of events and depiction of a person’s inner life (‘Richard III’), a dream as something more real than the reality itself (‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’) and ‘opposition of a person to the irrational world of dreams and his role in the life of people’ (‘The Tempest’) [8, 17].

‘As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep’.

(Prospero, Act IV, Scene 1. ‘Tempest’. Translated by M. Donskoy)

For A.D. Tikhomirov a dream of his characters – is a dream of physically tired and spiritually devastated people (‘Actors by the table’, ‘Phosphorescent dream’, ‘Feast of the actors’, ‘Clown with the balls’); dream-movement, in which the characters got frozen for an instance (‘Theatre’, ‘Theatric scene’, ‘Dream’), or deep slumber (‘White dream’, Phosphorescent dream’) – which is a great opportunity to give a deep psychological characteristics of a character, – in such case the dream has Freud’s meaning. As noticed by Anna Tikhomirova, ‘a dream makes hidden wishes become evident, it bares human soul; when dreaming, people unintentionally and surely lose their masks, becoming vulnerable and opening the ‘portraits of unconscious contents’ to the view’.

‘To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil’

(Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1. ‘Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark’. Translated by B. Pasternak)

It wouldn’t’t be right to say that it was only the creations of the great play writer which inspired A.D. Tikhomirov. Alexander Dmitrievich was a great expert and connoisseur of classical music, was interested in medieval and modern theater, loved the movies of Federico Fellini, possessed encyclopedic knowledge in the field of fine arts, however, the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare have undoubtedly played a big role in formations of the artist’s life views as well as in his art.


1. Baku Theatre of Russian Drama (in 1923-1937 – Baku Workers’ Theatre, BWT) and Azerbaijani Drama Academic Theatre named after M. Azizbekov [13].


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  18. Foundation for Heritage of the Artist A.D. Tikhomirov // www.soviet-michelangelo.com
  19. William Shakespeare. Complete edition in 8 volumes / Translated by M.M. Donskoy, Iskusstvo, 1960.
  20. WilliamShakespeare.Hamlet, Prince of Denmark / Translated by B. Pasternak. Detgiz, 1956.
  21. William Shakespeare. As You Like It / Translated by P. Veinberg. Saint-Petersburg, ‘Crystal’ publishing house, 2002.
  22. William Shakespeare.King Lear / Translated by A.V. Druzhinina. Saint-Petersburg,  ‘Crystal’ publishing house, 2001.
  23. William Shakespeare.The Plays / Translated by M.M. Kuzmin, Moskovsky Raochy, 1990. Page 432.

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