IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

On war and peace painting

For my “Peace Prayers” meetings (yes, I’m still doing them) last month, I presented a small slide show of paintings  of war and peace.  While preparing and showing this, I realized something (that I found, at least) interesting.  It is quite straightforward to present “war” in a painting.   There are many wars from many historical settings to choose from; and, of course, war lends itself to “action” images.  Generally, it is fairly obvious what the subject of a “war painting” is:  the soldiers, mutilated bodies, smoke rising from bombed out ruins, etc… are a dead (no pun intended) giveaway.  Peace, however, presents more challenges artistically it seems to me.  First, I’m not sure you can really paint a straightforward peace “action scene.”   Maybe the two leaders of opposing armies shaking hands, or something like that, but that still might convey more of victory, than peace.  You couldn’t really paint a conference table either, since many things go on around conference tables (some of which are the opposite of peace).  So, when you look for peace paintings you find primarily works focusing on symbols:  doves, hands holding globes, etc… Also–and I find this particularly interesting–there is more of an emphasis on the spiritual.  Peace, in general, seems often to be connected with “inner peace”.

Consider this:

..and this:

The first is obviously men at war, while the second, looked at concretely is people with birds on their heads.  However, we all understand the imagery (I hope).



January 26, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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