(15) Dostoevsky is shocked by Holbein's "The Dead Christ in the Tomb" - a masterpiece that also had a great influence on "The Moron".

Dostoevsky and His Wife's Fateful Journey: Travels in Western Europe of Madness and Love

(15) Dostoevsky was shocked by Holbein's "The Dead Christ in the Tomb" in Basel - a masterpiece that had a great influence on "Moron" as well.

After five hellish weeks in Baden-Baden, the Dostoevskys left for Geneva, Switzerland.

On the way there, they decided to stay one night in Basel to see a painting.

Now let's hear what Mrs. Anna has to say.

The stormy days of foreign life came to an end in Baden-Baden. As usual, it was the editorial staff of our guardian angel, the "Russian Report," who rescued us. However, we were strapped for cash, and since we had already borrowed and pawned a lot of money, we had to give up almost all of the money we had received. Most regrettably, she could not retrieve her husband's precious brooch and earrings with diamonds and rubies, which he had given her on their wedding day and which she would never get back.

At first we wanted to leave Baden for Paris or Italy, but we could not afford it, so we decided to settle down in Geneva for a while and then move south when circumstances permitted. On the way to Geneva, we stayed overnight in Basel to see a painting in a museum that my husband had heard from someone. The painting, by Hans Holbein, depicted Jesus Christ, who had been inhumanly abused, taken down from the cross, and left to rot. His swollen face, bloodied with wounds, looked horrific. Fyodor Mikhailovich was so moved by the painting that he stood before it as if he had been struck by it. But I could not look at it. The impression was so lukewarm, and I was not feeling particularly well, that I went out into the next room. When I returned fifteen or twenty minutes later, my husband was still standing where he had been, as if glued to the floor. His excited face had the same frightened expression I had seen many times in the first moments of epileptic seizures. Thinking he was about to have a seizure, I gently took his hand and led him out into the other room to put him on the bench. Fortunately, it did not happen. He gradually calmed down, but when we left the museum, he did not insist on seeing the moving painting again.

Misuzu Shobo, Anna Dostoevskaya, translated by Hiroshi MatsushitaDostoevsky in Recollection."p180-181

It takes about one and a half hours from Baden-Baden to Basel by high-speed train. I followed in the footsteps of Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky and came to Basel.

This is indeed a Swiss city. The station building clearly has an air of modernity and sophistication.

We have come to the center of Basel. Clearly fashionable. It's also very formal and fashionable. It was different from Paris or Dresden. I felt a sense of Swiss solidity, and was put off by it.

Now, here is the museum where "The Dead Christ in the Tomb" by Holbein, which shocked Dostoevsky, is on display. (*Holbein had a father of the same name and is sometimes referred to as Holbein (son) to distinguish him from his father.)

Now let us take a look at that shocking picture as well.

The Kunstmuseum Basel is a very modern building. As soon as you enter the museum, there is a staircase in front of you, from which each floor is divided into different genres. I headed for "The Dead Christ" at once. Now, where is that painting?

After walking for a while, it quickly came into view through a gap in the entrance! This is it! I still clearly remember the chills and goose bumps I felt at this moment.

This is Holbein's "The Dead Christ"...! Indeed, this is...!

I completely stopped thinking when I saw this picture. There is something in this picture that is so powerful that it makes you say whether it is there or not... I can understand why Dostoevsky froze. The goosebumps I felt at the entrance have not subsided yet. I am amazed at the staying power of these goose bumps. Does this mean that I am still surprised?

I was surprised by the painting itself, but I was also surprised by the painting displayed on the wall just across from it. Here it is.

The photo on the right is an enlargement of this altarpiece (Kunstmuseum Basel).home pageThe "Christ the Dead" was painted by Holbein at about the same time as the "Christ the Dead". I was surprised at this gap. I wondered if they were really painted by the same person. I could not believe that they were painted by the same person in the 1520s. Oh, wow. My mind is completely confused.

As was the case with the Dresden Picture Gallery, the room with Dostoevsky's favorite painting.popularitysign of lifeThere is no As you can see, this place is also deserted. I was sitting on this sofa looking at this painting, but I was all alone at that time. I am grateful to be able to look at it carefully, but I also feel a little sad.

But still, my head is not moving. Nothing comes to mind. This is hopeless. I'll come back tomorrow.

So the next morning I came again before this painting. Despite this second encounter with the painting, I felt chills and goose bumps. I knew it was a terrible painting.

Frankly, my head doesn't work any better than it did yesterday. No, the more I look at it, the clearer it becomes that I am speechless. I don't know what to say. And I can't take my eyes off this picture. I am completely frozen.

But as I looked at this painting, it occurred to me. The theme of this painting, "The Corruption of Christ," begins hereThe Brothers Karamazov.It may have led to the decomposition of Elder Zosima's body in Even if not directly so, the shock of seeing this painting must have been in Dostoevsky's mind for a long time. This painting.The Moron.It is well known that it is depicted with great significance in the "The Brothers Karamazov," but it was interesting for me to actually come here and associate it with "The Brothers Karamazov" myself.

Finally, after our second meeting, I began to regain a little of my composure. This painting was displayed on the wall to the right of "The Dead Christ. It was also by Holbein. Unlike the altarpiece I was surprised to see the day before, it is quite realistic. Especially, the clothes and hands are so realistic that it could be mistaken for the real thing. The 1520s was a time when Michelangelo and da Vinci were already active. The custom of observing and sketching corpses had also begun. It is no wonder that Holbein painted Christ so realistically.

...But still, there is something indescribable about it.

For those who have not thought much about immortality and God, "The Dying Christ" may seem like a grotesque picture. But if you have ever seriously thought about immortality, miracles, or God, this picture will give you a frightening impression. That is why Dostoevsky was so shocked and frozen. I couldn't stay away either. I think I somehow understand how Dostoevsky felt. It is hard to put into words, but there is something about this picture that attracts me strongly. If you are interested in what Dostoevsky thought about this picture, please read "The Idiot.

Mrs. Anna's.Recollections."Although it does not appear in theDiary"describes the two's visit to Basel, even though it was a short stay.

I decided to walk around the city for a bit, too.

This is Basler-Munster (Basel Cathedral), the symbol of Basel. The red color is eye-catching. I also noticed the lack of roundness. I felt the solid atmosphere of this city while I was walking around Basel, and I also felt it in this church. I wonder if this is the Swiss way.

This church is a Protestant church. Thinking back, I have visited churches all over the world, but I have rarely entered a Protestant cathedral. As you can see from the photo on the right, there is no central altar as in Catholic and Orthodox churches. I guess the doctrine of "Bible only" is reflected in these places. It was very interesting to be able to see and feel the differences inside the church.

However, according to his "Diary," Dostoevsky did not seem to have much interest in this church, and teased his wife Anna, saying, "This temple is not interesting, you must see the Great Milanese Temple. It is very nice to have such a comparison to understand Dostoevsky's tastes.

The city of Basel is small and can basically be navigated on foot. However, there are many hills, so walking for a long time can be tiring. The streetcars run like a meshwork, so you may want to take advantage of them.

I also passed by the University of Basel, where the young Nietzsche worked as a professor. As I have been studying the theme of Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, it was a touching moment for me. It is fun to visit places associated with Dostoevsky and Nietzsche. (For more information on Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, please seeA comparison of Nietzsche and Dostoevsky: What are the characteristics of their respective philosophies?(See article in)

Still, the city of Basel's chunky, fashionable feel is suffocating me.

Yes, it is beautiful and sophisticated. But there is something about it that makes me feel like I'm on the threshold. Perhaps it is because I am used to the relaxed atmosphere of Baden-Baden, or perhaps I am confused by the gap.

My stay in Basel made me realize that the atmosphere in Switzerland and Germany is totally different again.

be unbroken

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Click here for a list of Dostoevsky's recommended books.

List of recommended Dostoevsky biographies."
List of recommended Dostoevsky commentaries.
A list of recommended commentaries on "Dostoevsky and Christianity."

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