Death of Hephaestion in drawing by Mark Mulleian
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DEATH OF
HEPHAESTION
This 1977 pen and ink drawing, entitled Death of Hephaestion by Mulleian was inspired by unusual circumstances surrounding Robert Arbegast (a close companion to Mulleian). In one of Robert Arbegast's visits to the artist's studio one afternoon, he engaged with Mulleian in one of their intense discussions, not realizing that he would become the model for this powerful drawing. As they stood next to one of the studio windows Mulleian was suddenly mentally transported in time as he was witnessing the changing effects of geometrical shapes of light and shadow that appeared across Arbegast's face, creating a dramatic metamorphosis captured by Mulleian's eye which would inspire him in the creation of this drawing.
Alexander the Great walks past his generals holding Hephaestion, wrapped in ornate fabric, the warrior's grief-stricken face revealing the panoramic realization of the death of his close companion. Here in this powerful drawing, as in many of his works, Mulleian is able to capture many layers of emotion, sanctioned by providential moments contained in a dramatic theme. By slowing down time the artist seems to pluck out moments well hidden in history, and foretell warnings transposed in the future.
In The Death of Hephaestion, (for which Arbegast modeled for both Alexander and Hephaestion) Mulleian once again creates composition within supporting composition and leaves the viewer no retreat from a single point , the essence of which the artist is conveying peripherally through the powerful personality and profoundly tortured feelings of loss, vulnerability and despair, all concentric elements converging within the intensely focused energy staring directly at the viewer through the eyes of Alexander the Great. These combined elements force the emotions of the viewer and compel thought.
Mulleian's Clairvoyance and the Future
In the drawing Death Of Hephaestion and in many of his other works, Mulleian seems to depict events long before they occur. The artist's foresight seems to come from a deep intuitive force within him, foreseeing events such as weather conditions, longevity of relationships, and political and social calamities. The drawing Death Of Hephaestion is a prime example of Mulleian's uncanny clarvoyance. In 1977 Robert Arbegast was used as the model for both Alexander (holding the remains of his companion), and Hephaestion (in repose on an ornate shroud in the arms of Alexander). Some 30 years later it would be Mulleian who would be placing the cremated remains of Robert Arbegast in an urn which was resting on the very same ornately patterned cloth that had been used as the model for Hephaestion's shroud in the original drawing. Also read Metallic Sound by Mulleian.
In another piece, a 1971 painting entitled The Window, Mulleian depicts a note written on a torn piece of paper left on a window sill describing the breakup of a couple two years, in fact, before the breakup actually occurred. And again, Mulleian's implicit despair rendered in the powerful painting entitled Dies Irae envisions nuclear disaster, yet also conveys the possibilities of hope, symbolized by an eagle flying toward the nuclear light. Mulleian had expressed many times before "Predictions are warnings to mankind and can be changed. Prophecies, on the other hand, are preordained and, therefore, cannot be changed."