The prodigal sons-       Daniel nations

One of the most popular stories, or parables to be more precise, to come from the bible is The Prodigal Son. Throughout the 17th century there have been more than a few pieces that try to capture some key aspects of this parable. So that is what this gallery will focus on, is the multiple pieces that artists have made to represent the parable of the prodigal son.

The first piece in this gallery is a simple etching that depicts an event that starts the parable off. All that is happening is the son is receiving money from his father. In the piece, the artist makes the foreground stand out from the background by making everything up front much more detailed than in the back.
This next piece represents the next part of the story. Here the son makes a decision to leave with all his money. The son is emphasized through his placement above everyone else. Since it is just an etching, the entire piece is based around the use of line and shapes.
The third piece of this gallery is another etching made to represent another section of the parable. Its at this part of the story the son starts his downfall by being thrown out of a tavern. The artist creates the illusion of movement through the use of curved lines pointing in the direction the son is depicted to be thrown.
In the fourth piece, the son is once again depicted in his downfall. After spending all his money he tries to earn some money back by working at a farm feeding pigs. The realization that he is at his lowest seems to be dawning on him, as he is leaning with his fist against his face. Another aspect of this piece is the asymmetrical balance created with the son seemingly leaning against the edge of the image itself.
The fifth piece is the point of the story where the son finally returns home, and asks for his father’s forgiveness. Contradicting with the piece that depicts his departure, here he is positioned below everyone else as he feels the exact opposite from when he left. The son is also emphasized through the much brighter section of the painting he is placed in, while everyone else is placed in the shadows.
The sixth piece is another continuation of the story. Depicted here is the father not only forgiving his son, but also accepting him back into his home. The way the artist shows this is through painting the son almost perfectly symmetrical with his father. The only thing that keeps them from being complete reflections of each other, is the fact that the son is painted slightly smaller than his father.
The seventh piece is similar to the fifth one in the sense that they both show the same portion of the parable, that being the son returning to the front steps of his father’s home. However unlike the other one, this piece has the main subject placed much further back. While not as obvious as the fifth piece, the son is once again highlighted through lighter tones.
In the eighth painting the artist shows the party thrown to celebrate the return of the prodigal son. Outside of being placed in the center, and depicted wearing mostly white, there isn’t much else that makes the son stand out. Through the use of both shadows and proper proportions a real sense of depth seems to be given.
The ninth piece is another representation of the celebration that was thrown for the son’s return. Contrary to the previous piece in this gallery, this one has much more movement in it. This movement is created through the way the artist has place even more people throughout the image, and this sense of movement gives the image a more festive feel.
Unlike the other pieces in this gallery, the tenth and final piece depicts the entire parable in four simple scenes through the use of stained glass. The four scenes that the artist shows are the son’s departure, his time at the bar, when he was amongst the pigs, and the son’s return. Like most pieces made of stained glass, this one uses bright colors and organic shapes to depict these events.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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