End of the World is one of Carel Willink’s (1900-1983) late works, as are Parachutists and Landscape with Nuclear Power Plant. In nineteen apocalyptic paintings, the modern world of war, technology and science clashes with the ancient civilisation. In these works, the past always loses.
In this p...ainting, a mountain road ends abruptly in an abyss; wooden beams block the way – or has somebody already gone through? To the left, large palls of smoke rise above a city in the distance. The ashen brown, grey and blue shades bring a sense of melancholy to the scene. The lack of people or animals adds to the ominous vibe. Willink’s characteristic way of depicting stones and rocks – using a palette knife – is clear to see.
Willink’s fascination with the bestseller The Decline of the West (1918-1922) by cultural philosopher Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) – which he read as a student – influenced this series of late works, in which themes introduced by Spengler such as ‘progress brings decline’ and ‘the Western civilisation is dying’ became primary subjects.