Original artwork, 120 x 115 cm, Oil on canvas, 2013
A centurion was a professional officer of the Roman army after the Marian reforms of 107 BC. Most centurions commanded groups of centuries of around 80 men but senior centurions commanded cohorts or took senior staff roles in their legion.
The qualities necessary for the centurion: Centurions had to be literate (to be able to read written orders), have connections (letters of recommendation), be at least 30 years of age, and had already served a few years in the military.
"The centurion in the infantry is chosen for his size, strength and dexterity in throwing his missile weapons and for his skill in the use of his sword and shield; in short for his expertness in all the exercises. He is to be vigilant, temperate, active and readier to execute the orders he receives than to talk; Strict in exercising and keeping up proper discipline among his soldiers, in obliging them to appear clean and well-dressed and to have their arms constantly rubbed and bright."
Classical antiquity and its fascination and mystery ...
Pavel Mitkov's artworks in the series CENTURION I and CENTURION II are messages.
We accompany the artist on this quest for the secret of life and death, which is an eternal theme in human culture.
These artworks hint on the never-ending struggle between the good and the evil. And the good and the evil are at times like twins – one cannot do without the other. The evil only emerges for us to see what the good is. It must be so that we do not put the good on a pedestal of some sort but rather fight for it every single day!
These paintings came to being at a later, more mature stage in Mitkov's artistic development. He has achieved a wise balance between creating a vivid emotional experience for viewers, influencing them through elements and colours and skilfully revealing the essential meaning underlying the topic. And he does so without “narrating” a story but rather finding the right moment when things just happen.