The themes prevalent in this painting are that of withdrawal symptoms and jealousy. The painting shows model Myriam Romig in the garden of ‘Death House’, Lenkiewicz’s cottage in Plymouth, watched by a male figure whose entrails flail after the retreating woman. The male figure is copied directly from Velàzquez’s 'Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan'; the twisting entrails exactly echo a sinuous line in Velàzquez’s own composition. Vulcan is the Roman counterpart to the smithy god Hephaestus who in Greek mythology made the first woman, Pandora, out of clay. The opening of Pandora’s box unleashed all human evils on the world, including envy and jealousy.
Robert viewed jealousy as a form of withdrawal symptom: '… the experience of jealousy is the experience of being withdrawn from one’s own addiction, from one’s own drug, that one has inflicted on oneself – nothing to do with the other person. Not everybody sees it in the same way, and that infliction, that process, that peculiar suicide, is an aesthetic phenomenon entirely'.
Lenkiewicz believed that many forms of suffering, insofar as ‘the falling in love scenario’ was concerned, were in fact merely aspects of ‘the enjoyment of misery’ – that is, yet another physiological sensation to which the ‘sufferer’ could become addicted and indulge at the expense of the other.
Where to see this painting?
The Lenkiewicz Foundation
Not all paintings are on display. If you want to see a particular painting, please contact the collection
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