REFLECTIONS OF ICONIC ART AND SOCIETAL VIEWS

Some of the most iconic, most impacting art through out history has moved millions in ways of faith, beliefs and beauty. 

As with many cultures, there is a fundamental belief in life and the afterlife. Many cultures, as with the Egyptians, believed the funerary rights and practices would follow the deceased into and possibly aide in the afterlife. Engravings, mosaics, gifts and riches were often stored in the tombs of the deceased as seen here in this page from the Book of the Dead.
With many having a belief in the afterlife, how they live is predicated by their current lives. As with Da Vinci's The Last Supper, this piece holds dear to millions as the definitive picture of Jesus’s last meal with His disciples. The imagery of Christ having a last meal before His crucifixion resonates a strong emotional impact to those who believe in Him. As some believe, this has carried into today’s society for prisoners to have a last meal before execution.
One of the most prolific, most iconic artists in al of history has been Leonardo Da Vinci. Not only has his masterpieces contributed to such an emotional connection with the masses, but he has also given way to mystery, intrigue and dedicated works to the sciences which we use today. What started with the renown Vitruvian Man also has pieces such as this drawing of the anatomy of the neck and shoulder. It is pieces such as this that even today still have an impact that effects our lives.
Another iconic masterpiece that not only depicts the artist’s view but resonates with his audiences is the Garden of earthly Delights by Bosch. He defines Heavenly influence, earthly actions and the judgements of Hell. Influenced by Donte Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Bosch gives us The Garden. This piece has resonated with people who try to further understand Heavenly guidance, Hell’s judgement and where we are in the middle.
As previously mentioned, Dante’s Inferno (the written works) has been read, debated, illustrated and fought over. One of the most influenced by the Inferno was Botticelli who was commissioned to draw the illustrations for the written works. In Botticelli’s drawings (as seen here in one drawing), he depicts over 90 illustrations of Inferno, Paradiso and Purgatorio.
One of the most impactful artists of history was Rubens. In his Entombment of Christ, this shows one of the most heartbreaking moments in Christianity - The death and burial of Jesus. Many believers take this moment as the definitive moment of Jesus’s divinity where he was entombed then arose three days later. Even today, this is the largest cornerstone of Christian faith.
A widely held belief of many faiths is the judgement of the dead. Heaven or Hell. This was originated in The Fall of The Damned - The Angels falling from grace, from Heaven. Never has such an image been captured and affected so many than the one painted by Rubens. What started out as a drawing (seen here) has become one of the most vivid nightmares of the fallen leaving Heaven, an image that scares yet fascinates millions.
Religious art is not the only impacting pieces to resonate with society. Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh is another one. A remarkable piece that shows the calm and serenity on a star filled night. Painted from the view of an asylum window, Van Gogh painted the calmness of an idealistic village below. Many have felt a connection with this painting, knowing it’s meaning, as one where we feel trapped in some ways but we hold on to hope by the beauty we see, even that of a Starry Night.
One of the most amazing pieces to give one pause is The Mill by Rembrandt. Watching the scene, the pride of Holland, a windmill overlooks a river with a woman doing laundry, a mother and child walking to the water, a fisherman rowing inland. Storm clouds are seen either coming in or leaving. That is up the viewer. Some see this as the calm before the storm, as in life. While other see this as the light after the storm, giving hope that life does move on, it does get better and it is a beautiful sight to see.
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