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It was in Moscow in 1964 that Ernst Neizvestny first conceptualized the idea that has become his life's work. Pushkin's poem "The Prophet," inspired an image of a man whose heart is torn out and replaced by a burning coal -- this image became the basis for Neizvestny's "Tree of Life"-- the embodiment of the artist's fiery desire to infuse life into his fellow man. The Tree of Life symbol is an ancient one, encompassing all ages, cultures and religions. It represents all mankind, protected and peaceful, nestled under the branches of one tree.

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Neizvestny's Tree of Life is composed of spirals which form the asymmetrical shapes of the human heart, a universal symbol. Seen through the openings of these elements are sculptural forms communicating the strength and the emotion of the theme.Neizvestny says of the Tree of Life, "the visitor finds himself at once within and without the monument...each person is a cell of the blood of mankind pulsing through its heart."
Multiple images in this work represent "base motivations that have caused human suffering as well as the spirit and faith of man."

To Neizvestny, the Tree of Life is "a celebration of the soul of man and the knowledge of man." "affirming the inseparability of the spiritual from the mathematical, logical and scientific." The artist feels that all aspects of human intellect: art, science, technology and philosophy are interconnected and man can only stride forward by harnessing all these aspects and utilizing them to achieve world peace. Neizvestny's vision is for mankind to live and work together to achieve peace by including all cultures, races and religions.

An element of each work created by Neizvestny resides in the Tree of Life.

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