suicide in art and philosophy

Wed, 01 Nov 2023, 11:18:44 PM

by tyler, yes, the tyler!
waddling animated ducks

a man sprawled on their back over a bed with a self inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, impressionist art-piece by manet

Edouard Manet - Le Suicidé

le suicidé has a pretty simple composition. a bed, a table, and a man collapsed backwards, still clutching the revolver that he used to take his life. his white shirt stands out amongst the browns and reds of his bedsheets and floor as though it was a blank canvas, painted with vivid red blood. it was possibly the only ever major depiction of suicide within the impressionist movement, definitely the only one not based on a historical account of suicide by a major figure.

David La Morte's depiction of the death of seneca

Jacques-Louis David - The Death of Seneca

seneca the younger was ordered by nero to kill himself in the aftermath of a conspiracy to kill and replace him. seneca’s arm is outstretched limply, and his hand beckons towards his wife, phaedra. the painting depicts his final moments, his wrists slit, as he slowly bleeds out. his wife, pained by this, chose to die with him, and too slit her wrists. in stark contrast to manet’s painting, the composition is rich. praetorian guard flank all edges of the painting, watching on from a balcony, holding seneca as he collapses against his chair. light washes over phaedra, being led away so neither of them have to endure watching each other die.

Photo of sociologist Emile Durkheim

emile durkheim was a french sociologist. they postulated that there were 4 types of suicide.

egoistic suicide:

you find yourself isolated from social groups, you lack support or any social groups. egoism within philosophy is the concept that we are motivated by self interest. egoism in this sense is not the typical egoism within philosophy wherein people are motivated by self-interest and selfishness. durkheim, however, used this phrase purely to refer to the self, the ‘ego’. in this context, durkheim is probably talking about how this type of suicide is self motivated due to the individual’s environment.

altruistic suicide:

altruistic suicide could be considered to be the opposite of egoistic suicide, when someone is too far integrated within their social group, when society puts collective interests at the forefront and the individual places this group’s interests above even their own lives. this is most common historically with martyrdom.

anomic suicide:

anomic means to be disoriented, or to otherwise feel alienated. this often happens when social or economic conditions change swiftly, leaving people bankrupt, making people feel small. any marked major changes in routine could be said to cause this.

fatalistic suicide:

in scenarios where you feel a lack of control, surrounded by hurt and out of options, fatalistic suicide describes a situation in which suicide is the only or best option to regain control and power over your own life. this is seen in prisoners in solitary confinement, deprived of social interaction and cramped into a small cell.

a dimly lit grave with a flower growing out of it

Grave of a Suicide - wilhelm kotarbiński

a solitary white flower grows between the cracks of an unmarked grave. light shines onto the flower, as a trickle of blood flows from its stem. wilting plants surround the tomb, suggesting themes of loneliness, one flower surrounded by 100 wilted ones.

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