Cynthia Beth Rubin: Old House in the Shadow of the Castle

  • ©1998/2001, Cynthia Beth Rubin



    Old House in the Shadow of the Castle


Creation Year:



    Kodak Professional El large format inkjet print


    32 inches x 42 inches


Artist Statement:

    Hidden in the woods and brush near Topolcianky, Slovakia, is an old house completely enveloped by twisting trees and vines. The house is located just past the castle that once was the summer residence of the Hapsburg family, where Marie Antoinette spent her summers as a child. This is one of those special places where the visitor feels connected to history, where rather than feeling the cold depression of abandonment, one immediately senses happy times of an elegant bourgeois family walking through the many rooms, and sitting on the front porch that still bears traces of frescoes. It is possible to imagine that, in such close proximity to the castle, the family played some role in royal life, and lived knowing that they were dependent on the monarchy. One even senses the power of the Revolution, and of the changes that it set in motion.

    Time does not stand still as one moves through this place; it fluctuates from distant past, to upheaval, and then to the present. Nor are the visual reflections of the visitor singularly focused; in the moments of actually looking at the house, and of later thinking back to the visit, the images of the house, the overgrown garden, the woods, and the castle all become intertwined.

    Digital imagery is the ideal medium for creating the synthesis of imagery that is essential to descriptive narrative. The process of composite fragments from various photographs renders an image of remembering, complete with the unusual juxtapositions and distortions that are the very heart of memory. Separate representations of each element would not tell the story of the experience of visiting the house in contemporary times. Only composite, intertwined imagery can provide the proper description of an experience which is itself a composite experience.

    “Old House in the Shadow of the Castle” is part of a series of images built out of the remembering of places which contain echoes of past lives.

Other Information:

    Printed by Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York. Printed on a Kodak Professional 4760 Large Format, using Kodak Professional EI Lightfast Plus Inks and Kodak Professional EI Premium Photographic Glossy/270g