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What do you see when you look at a painting?

Where is that painting?

When is that painting?

What happens when you try to touch the painting?

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In this first section of the thesis, I will spend time with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological analysis of painting and the insights it provides on the relationship between movement and vision as it pertains to cinema. However, this will ultimately lay bare phenomenology’s limited ability to describe the relationship between philosophy and cinema. Phenomenology nevertheless remains our point of entry into a philosophical discussion of cinema because it opens up the possibility of a critical analysis of perception that overturns Cartesian dualism and emphasizes the role that perspective plays in perception.


Phenomenology’s limit will become apparent as we approach the question of time which characterizes cinema as an art form. According to Andrei Tarkovsky, time is the medium of cinema, just as paint is that of the painter, stone that of the stonemason, or bronze that of the bellfounder. I am able to present Tarkovsky's films here as pertinent to this discussion of the relationship between film and philosophy because cinematic time demands a complete re-evaluation of philosophical theories of time. In this thesis, I will examine why phenomenological theories of time remain too subject-oriented to address the unique nature of the de-subjectified "eye" of the movie camera. 


As a Soviet filmmaker, Tarkovsky followed in a long line of directors, such as Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, whose film theories reflected on the filmmaker’s ability to choose (or not choose) what to capture on camera. Vertov called the movie camera the “kino-eye” (кино-глаза, literally "cinema- eye" in Russian) and emphasized the significance of this eye as a new form of perception that subverts human perception by perceiving without a subject’s intentionality directing it. He refers to the movie camera as a “mechanical eye”, writing,


“The mechanical eye, the camera, rejecting the human eye as crib sheet, gropes its way through the chaos of visual events, letting itself be drawn or repelled by movement, probing, as it goes; the path of its own movement. It experiments, distending time, dissecting movement, or, in contrary fashion, absorbing time within itself, swallowing years, thus schematizing processes of long duration inaccessible to the normal eye” (Vertov 19)



Eisenstein, more interested in the role that editing plays in filmmaking, theorizes about the dialectical nature of the montage in film. As he writes in his text on film theory, Film Form,


“. . . montage is an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots─shots even opposite to one another: the ‘dramatic’ principle” (Eisenstein 49)



For Eisenstein, art is conflict and, in a very Marxist sense, it reveals only through a dialectic of thesis and antithesis. However, although time does figure into Eisenstein's theory of cinema, he does not consider it to be the medium of cinema. Tarkovsky critiques Eisenstein’s theory of montage, saying that it does not succeed in describing the uniqueness of cinema. For Tarkovsky, the film image is not merely a series of images juxtaposed such that a new meaning may arise out of them. Instead, in Tarkovsky's theory of film, the cinematic image expresses a whole:


“For the cinema image is essentially the observation of a phenomenon passing through time” (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 67)



Rather than Vertov’s completely de-subjectified eye or Eisenstein’s dialectical eye, Tarkovsky’s cinematic eye implies an embodied vision that is capable of sculpting in time. But, as we shall see, this embodied vision does not privilege a subjective view but rather spiritualizes sight within duration.

How does this film about an icon painter shape the way we think about cinema?

How does time figure into this chronicle?

How does Tarkovsky explain the process of "sculpting in time"?


Sculpting In Time


Andrei Rublev (1966), also known as The Passion According to Andrei, is a film about art and artists. It foregrounds the relationship between painting and cinema by situating the story of Andrei Rublev, a medieval Russian monk and icon painter in a narrative structure that resembles the traditional Russian chronicle. The chronicle, in  Russian letopis’ (летопись), suggests chronological time, the kind of time that proceeds sequentially and is expressed through the succession of its cyclical moments. This particular film-chronicle is divided into eight parts with the addition of a prologue that is set outside the narrative itself as well as an epilogue, the only portion of the movie that is filmed in color.


Each of these parts is introduced with a title and a time of year: The Jester (Summer 1400), Theophanes the Greek (Summer-Winter-Spring-Summer 1405-1406), The Passion (1406), The Holiday (1408), The Last Judgement (Summer 1408), The Raid (Autumn 1408), Silence (Winter 1412), The Bell (Spring-Summer-Winter-Spring 1423-1424).


But some years and seasons are left out, suggesting that a strictly chronological timeline is not a satisfactory description of the way time is experienced. Perhaps these times did not produce the “pressure of the shot” that Tarkovsky insisted was essential to the process of “sculpting in time” (filmmaking). As he describes it,

"These novellas are not connected by a traditional chronological time, but by the poetic logic of the need for Rublev to paint his celebrated ‘Trinity’. The episodes, each with its own particular plot and theme, draw their unity from that logic. They develop in interaction with each other, through the inner conflict inherent in the poetic logic of their sequence in the screenplay: a kind of visual manifestation of the contradictions and complexities of life and of artistic creativity…" (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 35)



In this film, the poetic time of the chronicle is oriented toward the actualization of historical time through a personal and spiritual encounter with its reality and, ultimately, the manifestation of that time in art. For Rublev, that art is iconography, but for Tarkovsky it is the art of cinema that makes time visible.


A New Perspective On Time

The prologue to Andrei Rublev reflects on the human desire to seek out different perspectives. In highlighting this relationship between vision and space, Tarkovsky allows the subjectivity of perception to hold the viewer’s attention for the span of the prologue. We see from the point of view of a medieval peasant, Yefim, who has apparently defied authority, or social acceptability, in order to build a makeshift hot air balloon and fly from the spire of a church. This preliminary “remark” by the director indicates the need for an openness of perception. The film that follows is a lengthy meditation on the effects of experience on perspective. Tarkovsky describes the work of the filmmaker as forming a “concentration of experience”:


"In cinema, works of art seek to form a kind of concentration of experience, materialised by the artist in his film." (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 85)


This concentration will later be interpreted by Gilles Deleuze as the “crystallization” of time, but in order to arrive at his philosophical treatment of cinema, we first have to allow Merleau-Ponty’s idea of embodied vision to provide a foundation that we can disassemble as we search for the role that human consciousness plays in a search for lost time.

Watch the prologue here.

Moving Through Time


As we see in the prologue, Yefim is persecuted for his invention of a new perspective. Why exactly the other peasants try to prevent him from flying is unclear, but their hostility toward his attempt is violent. 

And Yefim's flight appears to end in either injury or death for him.


Was it worth it?

Merleau-Ponty spends a great deal of time examining the relationship between vision and movement. Not only does the eye move but the artist also moves such that their body becomes intertwined with the flesh of the world. The eye and body must move in order to perceive the phenomena of the world from different perspectives. As the camera presents us with Yefim’s point of view, we experience with him this new perspective, or vision, of the world. The technological advancement of this fictional medieval man allows him to encounter the world in an unprecedented way.


Tarkovsky tends to use his prologues to foreground some aesthetico-philosophical question which his film will simultaneously elucidate and complicate over the course of its running time. If we are to consider this prologue as a commentary on the entirety of the film-chronicle, it would be appropriate to ask why this subject  — a pre-modern attempt at flight  — was chosen for this film.


This scene captures the ecstasy, but also the accompanying futility, of technological advancements which allow us to see more, but fool us into thinking that “seeing more” is the equivalent of “seeing all”.  

Tarkovsky undoubtedly also sought to reflect somewhat on his own experience: working as a filmmaker within the confines of Soviet censorship. The subject matter of Andrei Rublev allowed Tarkovsky to skirt some of the Soviet censorship he was frequently tormented by. The film was in line with the Soviet project to record, write, and rewrite Russian history. The official criticism of this film largely focused on the film’s lack of traditional historical references and motifs rather than criticizing its spiritual material. Tarkovsky had to pare the film down considerably to satisfy the Soviet film authorities.


Regardless of the edits that the director was required to perform on his film, it remains a masterpiece and, moreover, a testament to artistic intertwining and entanglement with the world. Tarkovsky was no stranger to the struggle of being an artist. In this film there are numerous episodes, often violent ones, which portray the bitter pain that the artist must suffer through. As Tarkovsky stated in an interview, Andrei Rublev was about,


“‘the spiritual and moral force of the Russian people’, with Rublev’s art being a ‘protest against the ruling order of the times, against blood, treachery, oppression.’” (Robinson 337)


In this film we are dealing with not only the spiritual turmoil of the artist’s experience, but also the social and political anxiety of an unjust world.


A Departure From Phenomenology: Dreams, Desire, and Duration


When Rublev encounters the pagan celebration of Kupala Night (a celebration of the summer solstice) in Part IV The Holiday (1408), he is obliged to choose between honoring his chastity as a monk or joining in the ritual debauchery. This is a point at which we are obliged to move beyond Merleau-Ponty's formulation of time which cannot account for a dreamlike, non-subjective experience of time. The body-subject, proposed by Merleau-Ponty limits the consciousness of time to experiences that one "intertwines" with. But we see Rublev chooses not to engage with his desires in this episode.

The dreamlike qualities of this chapter place emphasis on the way it shows us time:

"Duration can only be lived . . . This is what Bergson is trying to do: to bring to philosophical awareness what has been absolutely suppressed by thought and is structurally inaccessible to it: the radical force of the time of becoming." (Guerlac 63) 


Duration, as described by Henri Bergson, is an experience of time that can only be lived. However, art gives us access to that experience of time. Cognitive thinking cannot engage with the heterogeneous, confused multiplicity that is time, according to Bergson. Thus Bergson is able to situate free will in relation to duration:

Freedom requires our concrete engagement with the flow of time. (Guerlac 85)

View this episode here.

“A poet is someone in whom feelings develop into images, and images into words. .  . Seeing these images pass back and forth before our eyes we in turn experience the feeling that was their emotional equivalent. But these images would not emerge before us with such force without the regular movements of the rhythm through which our soul, rocked and put to sleep, forgets itself as in a dream in order to think and to see with the poet. (Guerlac 51)

The Trinity Icon


Andrei Rublev is most famous for his Trinity icon. This icon is only shown at the end of the film, and then only in fragments as the camera moves slowly across the surface of several icons attributed to Rublev. It seems as though the epilogue is a series of tracking shots which track the movements of an eye looking at these works of art.


Rublev’s Trinity icon is considered an exceptional iconographic depiction of harmony and love. In the configuration of this icon, the three figures share a look amongst themselves while, nevertheless, facing the viewer. The harmony of the image is opened up by the still, yet cyclical movement that the three angels share. Unlike a naturalistic representation, the iconic image is born of a kenosis which gives up any affinity to reality as it might typically be understood, in order to welcome a new way of seeing.


Three figures face us in this icon, each looking out at us through the harmonic unity of the scene. Rather than enclosing the three figures, the circular configuration opens the icon back up to the viewer and encapsulates the moment of eternity in peace. 

Icons reinvent vision by demanding participation from the viewer. As Jean-Luc Marion describes icons,


“The icon definitively withdraws itself from the objectivity of a spectacle dependent upon consciousness by overturning the relation between the spectator and the spectacle: the spectator discovers himself invisibly seen by the painted gaze of the icon, which, from that time on, appears as the treasure chest of a central authority, never (by definition) painted and invisible — the gaze of the saint, the Virgin, or Christ.” (Marion 21)


In this case, it is the Trinity, a relationship of three persons which, theologically speaking, transcends the oppositional relationship of Self and Other through the presence of a third gaze. Rather than concealing the relationship behind a screen, the icon projects itself upon the anxiety of Self and Other by looking out at those who look upon it.


Rublev's Trinity icon calls for a continual reconfiguration of persons and thus of perspectives.

In his essay "Eye and Mind", Merleau-Ponty illuminates the significance that bodily engagement with the world holds for imaginative creativity, especially in situating the image produced by the artist. He writes (regarding the Lascaux cave paintings in this particular instance),

“I would be at great pains to say where is the painting I am looking at. . . It is more accurate to say that I see according to it, or with it, than that I see it.” (Merleau Ponty, "Eye and Mind" 296)

And follows that with a note on the placement of the imaginary,

“For the imaginary is much nearer to, and much further away from, the actual — nearer because it is in my body as a diagram of the life of the actual, with all its pulp and carnal obverse exposed to view for the first time.” (Merleau Ponty, "Eye and Mind" 296)



Merleau-Ponty's subversion of the role that space plays in paintings (as opposed to time) brings classical depth and perspective  into question but also allows for an interesting application of the perception of time in paintings. This film, as it is about a painter, ruminates on the influence that time has on painting, through imagination, through suffering, and through silence.

While we do not witness Rublev actually painting at any point in this film, there is an imaginative meditation on suffering for and with humanity that takes place in Part III, The Passion (1406). Feofan the Greek has taken Rublev on as an apprentice instead of Kirill, a jealous monk who resents Rublev for being the more well-loved monk, and more highly-regarded artist, at their monastery. Rublev seems ambivalent towards Kirill, seemingly because he is as yet unaware of the human capacity for evil-doing. In The Passion (1406), Feofan and  Rublev argue about the painter's responsibility toward the people. 

In a snowy landscape, reminiscent of the work of the Flemish painter, Peter Breughal (one of Tarkovsky's favorite painters to echo the aesthetic of in his films), we watch what is either a Passion play or simply a "Russian Christ", carry the cross up a hill to be crucified. 

This ability to imagine the Biblical story into his own world is an important example of Rublev's development as an artist who is learning to engage with the world through his perception, while at the same time collapsing and restructuring the notion of time.

Watch this episode here.

Angelsatmamre-trinity-rublev-1410 (1).jp

If the icon can be said to “project an image”, what happens when an icon is projected upon a cinematic screen?


Here we can turn to Merleau-Ponty’s essay “Cezanne’s Doubt” in which he describes the work of the painter from a phenomenological approach that recognizes the influence of time on vision. In Merleau-Ponty’s description of Cezanne’s method, he describes the “intertwining” which must take place between the artist and the world in order to generate an artistic work:


“The task before [Cezanne], first, was to forget all he had ever learned from science and, second, through these sciences to recapture the structure of the landscape as an emerging organism. To do this, all the partial views one catches sight of must be welded together; all that the eye’s versatility disperses must be reunited . . . ‘A minute of the world is going by which must be painted in its full reality.’” (Merleau-Ponty, "Cezanne's Doubt" 276)


Touching Time Through Vision


The Self is no longer the Subject, nor is the Other the Object. The scene portrayed in Rublev’s Trinity icon, could be described by Levinas’s words in Totality and Infinity:


“Everything that takes place here ‘between us’ concerns everyone, the face that looks at it places itself in the full light of the public order, even if I draw back from it to seek with the interlocutor the complicity of a private relation and a clandestinicity.” (Levinas 212)


Without excluding those who are not compelled by a particular gaze, the gazes exchanged among the faces in this icon are shared eternally as an opportunity to open infinitely wider to encompass all who would wish to participate and look with longing and intentionality upon the scene. In Marion’s words,


“Such a ‘nonobjective phenomenon’ carries out a ‘new realism of things’ by liberating the thing from every subjective edifice, to its full ownership of the invisible where its visibility resides, without alienating it as an act of the gaze.” (Marion 19)

Merleau-Ponty understands the artist in the world as a being who engages the world through both “vision and movement”. He cites the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valery, as he writes,


“The painter ‘takes his body with him,’ says Valery. Indeed we cannot imagine how a mind could paint. It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working actual body — not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement.” (Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind” 294)


Merleau-Ponty is cognizant of the necessity for the artist to touch the world, through vision and movement. In Andrei Rublev, Tarkovsky portrays exactly that sort of exchange between Rublev and the world he lives in, the people he suffers with and the sinful acts he commits as he brushes up against a fallen world, most explicitly, the murder of the Tatar raider he commits in defense of the Holy Fool who accompanies him in silence, Durochka.


A New Way of


From the pagan celebration of the summer solstice that Rublev chances upon to the Tatar raid in Vladimir, Rublev is immersed in all the sin and suffering of the world and the viewer sees all this over the course of the film. Like Yefim in the prologue, who invented a new way to see, we are offered a new way to see in the shots which compose this film.


The movie camera records movement and proceeds to introduce that movement to the audience.


What "new ways of seeing" become accessible to Rublev over the course of this film? 

How do we see time through Rublev's experiences in this film?

When are his paintings made? Do we see that process?

Embodied Vision


In Andrei Rublev, we are faced with the artistic image. Rather than divorce the painted icon from the movie screen, one is compelled to ask: how do film and painting coalesce in this work in particular? In Merleau-Ponty’s introductory chapters to The Phenomenology of Perception, he outlines the aspects of phenomenology that compel us to return to perception. In so doing, he deflates Henri Bergson’s method of intuition which we will resuscitate later in this paper. For now, however, we will follow Merleau-Ponty’s definition of the phenomenal field and the perception that it calls for. 


Phenomenology proposes a return to the things themselves and Merleau-Ponty develops the idea of the phenomenal field to encompass all sense experience, not merely that which is given to sight. He replaces the Kantian “transcendental ego” with a transcendental field of which he says,


“This word indicates that reflection never holds, arrayed and objectified before its gaze, the whole world and the plurality of monads, and that its view is never other than partial and of limited power.”  (Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception 71)



This proposal of a transcendental field is critical to understand the purpose of applying a phenomenological method to cinema because it emphasizes the simultaneous partial-ness of the film image which cannot be seen in an instant on the screen, but maintains the wholeness of the film due to the fact that it is projected from beginning to end. In The Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty goes on to demonstrate how the theory of the body is a theory of perception because we experience the world with our body. 


If Andrei Rublev is a film about a painter, it must tell us something about the creative process.  The painter, according to Merleau-Ponty, takes perception up as their subject, so that,


“Painting awakens and carries to its highest pitch a delirium which is vision itself, for to see is to have at a distance; painting extends this strange possession to all aspects of Being, which must somehow become visible in order to enter into a work of art.” (“Eye and Mind” 296).

The artist creates works which guide the viewer’s vision based on the artist’s own experience of seeing. As Tarkovsky describes the medium of cinema, he emphasizes the visibility of time across vision and movement: as the eye moves, it sees more and more over the course of time. Tarkovsky describes it thus: 


"Because it is a living process, artistic creation demands a capacity for direct observation of the ever-changing material world, which is constantly in movement [. . . ] Cinema came into being as a means of recording the very movement of reality: factual, specific, within time and unique; of reproducing again and again the moment, instant by instant, in its fluid mutability—that instant over which we find ourselves able to gain mastery by imprinting it on film. This is what determines the medium of cinema." (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 94)


Merleau-Ponty describes the movement of the eye similarly, as he writes, 


“My moving body makes a difference in the visible world, being a part of it; that is why I can steer through the visible. Moreover, it is also true that vision is attached to movement. We see only what we look at. What would vision be without eye movement.” (Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind” 294)

The movement of vision complicates a simple division between subject and object and between consciousness and intentionality. As Merleau-Ponty describes what he terms “embodied vision”, the eye opens up the world in its very carnality: 


"This extraordinary overlapping, which we never give enough thought to, forbids us to conceive of vision as an operation of thought that would set up before the mind a picture or representation of the world, a world of immanence and ideality. Immersed in the visible by his body, itself visible, the see-er does not appropriate what he sees; he merely approaches it by looking, he opens onto the world. And for its part, that world of which he is a part is not in itself, or matter."  (Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind” 294)

Destructive Time


Aesthetics and ethics come into play in this film as Rublev learns what it means to be an artist. Under the instruction of Feofan the Greek, Andrei Rublev is told to work only for God, humankind is too sinful and selfish. It is not until his experience during the Tatar invasion that he truly grasps the seriousness of communing with the world as an icon painter. As the cathedral is still lying in disrepair, with smoke rising from the smoldering icons, Andrei Rublev speaks with the deceased Feofan (it is not clear how Feofan is able to be present for this conversation, perhaps this is a dream). Aesthetics and ethics are complicated by this encounter between the two artists because apparently Feofan has learned better — perhaps seen more — since he and Rublev last argued about the suffering of humanity. During their initial discussion, when Feofan was still among the living, Rublev insisted that it was never too late to repent, whereas Feofan insisted that humankind deserved God’s condemnation. They switch places after Rublev murders the Tatar raider. 

Tarkovsky’s tendency to associate ethics and aesthetics is related to Fyodor Dostoevsky’s similar association. The image of murder corresponds to that of the burning iconostasis: for Rublev, this is a travesty beyond repair, beyond salvation. It is Feofan this time who insists on the possibility of forgiveness and who tells Rublev not to despair “just because one iconostasis burned.”


“The desecration of the iconographic image, the icon, or the religious painting quite understandably is symbolic in Dostoevsky’s Christian universe of the deepest crime against man’s humanity — murder.” (Jackson 59)


Although Rublev commits the murder in order to protect Durochka from a Tatar warrior, and thus may be excused for acting in defense of an innocent person by most moral standards, the questions posed by this film exist at the crossroads between aesthetics and ethics and thus must be addressed accordingly. As Rublev discovers, moral action is exceedingly difficult when one truly exists as a body in the world, but as an artist, the monk has no other option.


Watch this episode here. 


Rublev takes a vow of silence following this act of murder. He will not speak again until Boriska's bell rings successfully in the last chapter of this film. 

With his silence, he participates in the immensity of time. In a monastic context, silence is often treated an opportunity for reflection, a unique experience of consciousness that seeks a deeper understanding of oneself. This act of reflective consciousness allows Rublev to see his past in light of his present. Again, this introduces a consideration of Bergson which we will further develop in our following analyses of Solaris and Mirror.

The Depth of Time



Tarkovsky addresses the problems of producing a historical film saying,


“Of course memory has to be worked upon before it can become the basis of an artistic reconstruction of the past … Usually the poetry of the memory is destroyed by confrontation with its origin.” (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 29)



The idea that there is a poetic logic of time which makes filmmaking possible is something which Tarkovsky constantly pursued in his filmmaking. Merleau-Ponty considers time to be dependent upon a subjective view of it. As he writes in his chapter on temporality,


“Time presupposes a view of time. It is, therefore, not like a river, not a flowing substance. . . Time is, therefore, not a real process, not an actual succession that I am content to record. It arises from my relation to things.” (Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception 478)


We do not see Rublev paint a single icon in the film. The most we see of the artist at work is in the scene following the jealous Duke’s attack on the stonemasons who are blinded on their way to serve his brother. Rublev throws paint, or perhaps mud, at the unpainted wall of the cathedral, as though that expressive, almost expressionistic, response to the news of this act of un-brotherly hatred is his icon of the Last Judgement which he has been struggling to begin. 

Tarkovsky was very aware of the risks of making a movie on a subject with such explicitly historical roots. As he wrote in Sculpting in Time, 

"In order to achieve the truth of direct observation, what one might almost term physiological truth, we had to move away from the truth of archaeology and ethnography. . . Our awareness of time is totally different from that of the people who lived then. But nor do we think of Rublev's ‘Trinity’ in the same way as his contemporaries, and yet the ‘Trinity’ has gone on living through the centuries: it was alive then, and is so now, and it is a link between the people of that century and this." (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 79)


This resonates with Merleau-Ponty’s formulation of the concept of “depth” and the way it is perceived. The concept of depth is particularly interesting when speaking about icons which characteristically lack the depth of classical perspective. Depth is not the third dimension but rather the enigma of vision: that we can only see something by not seeing other things. Merleau-Ponty finds a reason behind the need to reformulate representations of historical events in the nature of looking; a historical event is never exhausted because looking engenders depth in an event. This has direct bearing on the Trinity icon which is essentially the subject of this film (although it is only shown on screen in the epilogue). As Tarkovsky describes it, 


“The ‘Trinity’ icon can be taken simply as an icon . .  . But this icon, this memorial, can be seen in another way: we can turn to the human, spiritual meaning of the ‘Trinity’ which is alive and understandable for us who live in the second half of the twentieth century.” (Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time 79)


The Materiality of Time


The final “novella” of this film features the casting of a church bell commissioned by the prince. Boriska, the adolescent son of the town’s deceased bell-maker claims to know his father’s secret and takes on the task. Rublev does not break his silence until after the bell tolls, when he finds Boriska curled up in a field, sobbing in disbelief at his own ability to craft a bell. He tells Boriska, “You will cast bells. I will paint icons.” We never witness Rublev actually painting these icons. Instead this scene fades out and the epilogue begins.

You can watch the bell episode here.

Teaching Us To See Time


In this film, Andrei Rublev is immersed in the very world he sought to escape as a monk. These encounters alone are not enough to demonstrate an example of Merleau-Ponty’s claim that the artist creates out of a store of vision intertwined with the world: the epilogue is needed to examine the film in its wholeness. In the epilogue, the camera, in a series of close-ups, slowly, meditatively shows us several icons attributed to the historical icon painter, Andrei Rublev himself.

Droplets of water on these icons and the camera's movements in the epilogue suggest an integral element of cinematic time: the flow of time. This moves us beyond a  phenomenological analysis. 

“Tarkovsky said that he ‘wanted to bring the viewer to this work through a kind of dramaturgy of colour, asking him to move from certain fragments towards the whole, creating an impressionistic flow.’” (Robinson 342)

You can watch the epilogue here.



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