The Art: Goddess of Depression
The Artist: Unknown
About the Work:
Little is known about Goddess of Depression, but the mystery surrounding this awe-inspiring piece seems fitting.
Often credited (though probably falsely) to Victor Nazarenko, the Russian photographer who first shared this image, Goddess of Depression blends high fashion and sculpture in a beautiful, delicate, and sad work of art.
It’s worth noting that the titular goddess does not derive from any particular pantheon. In ancient times, the deities associated with such mental states were only minor figures, and depression was associated with physiological impairment rather than psychological. Therefore, we might hypothesise that the artist is using the term to symbolise the overwhelming nature of depression itself.
We see evidence of this in the physical structure of the piece. At first, we are taken with the intricate crystalline rain drops that encircle the subject. They form a barrier, a facade; one designed to distract us from the truth that lies at the heart of the storm.
Here, the rain seems to smother the goddess. Note the way it runs down her arms in vine-like trails, as the depression corrupts her. Becomes her. Or, more specifically, as she becomes it.
The sight recalls the end of Edgar Allen Poe’s 1829 poem Alone, in which he reflects upon the isolation and depression he suffered as a youth:
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
Those who suffer depression know this feeling well. The sense of isolation, despair, and hopelessness. It’s a tragic reality that this unknown artist captures perfectly.