The Wittgenstein Brothers (2006)

Acrylic on canvas 600mm x 600mm
Ludwig Wittgenstein, is of course, the father of modern Philosophy. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus being one of the more interesting works in the field of Language and Philosphical Logic, and has been hugely influential across the realms of Philosphy, Linguistics, Psychology and Literary Theory.
Lesser known, though no less noteworthy was his brother Paul. An accomplished pianist, all the more remarkable for continuing his career despite losing his arm in the First World War.The Wittgenstein family were clearly exceptional, yet plagued with self-doubt and depression. In fact three of the five Wittgenstein brothers commited suicide.
It is the relationship between the genius and the depression which I find fascinating, and imbues some extra depth [were it needed] to Ludwigs own summation of the Tractatus – ‘What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.’

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Paul Wittgenstein

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10 thoughts on “The Wittgenstein Brothers (2006)”

  1. Thank you for posting this excellent piece. I stumbled upon your site recently and am most impressed with the way your body of work so easily shifts from serious to sardonic to little blinky things. I also like the fact you are so focused on scientists. You have quite a unique perspective that is evidenced in your art. I am particularly touched by this painting as there is a history of depression and suicide in my family. This really captures that feeling of Melancholia for me. Am wondering if you know of this firsthand as I do.

  2. Glad you’re enjoying the work – it’s always a pleasure to hear from visitors.
    As for first-hand experience, I think it’s impossible to spend time considering the more abstract aspects of life without occassionally straying into the realm of depression. I tend to believe that the acceptable range of psychological conditions is wide enough to encompass everything from euphoria to depression, and life is all the richer for it.
    Depression is a side-effect of intelligence, and I’d rather be intelligent and depressed than ignorant and happy, any day.

  3. I might describe Nietszche as the father, and Wittgenstein as the executioner of modern philosophy.
    At least I started geting interested when I read N, and realised there was nothing more to be said having read W.

  4. I was not too familiar with W. As a true crime buff however, I first became aware of N via Clarence Darrow’s summation in the Leopold and Loeb trial. Leopold and Loeb were wealthy students back in the 1920s who tasked themselves with committing the perfect murder. They saw themselves as N’s ubermen. Hitchcock later made a movie called Rope loosely based on the case [which, on a side note, was filmed in one continuous shot]. Anyway, that led me to N, and now this piece of art has turned me on to W. I thought he was basically just a “beery swine” prior…

    On another note, I have found my knowledge of N’s works to be quite a lure to certain types. I feel certain that W will serve me just as well.

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