I understand from my current investigations that this painting, Hide and Seek by Pavel Tchelichew, is about as old as I am. I suppose, like me, it’s been a puzzle for all these years. (And I suppose I am a puzzle mainly to myself – but I digress.) I came upon this huge piece of “visionary art” – it is 6’ 6½” x 7’ ¾” – on one of my first wanderings through the Museum of Modern Art, MOMA in NYC, many, many years ago. I’ve kept a print of I ever since, and every once in a while I dig it out and study it again. It is one of two paintings that have ‘spoken’ to me, though this one speaks in a strange tongue. On first glance it was a big tree, then a good look after a double take showed me that the tree was made of children – from newborns on up - everywhere in the painting. Someone had thoughtfully provided a bench in front of it, and I can’t recall how long I sat there and looked at the painting, but it was quite a while.
In seeking the correct spelling of the artist’s given name – from Paul to Pavel to Pavlik, all correct as it happens – I came upon the picture below. This one is called Phenomena. I discovered that it was the first of a series he was doing relative to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Phenomena was Inferno and Hide and Seek was Purgatorio. Tchilichew never did one for Paradiso – who can begin to guess what flights of fancy that one would have produced in him?