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The Soul's Expression: Identity, Individuality, & the Spirit in Visual Art

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Language Arts And English +7 Age Levels High School (16 to 18 years old), Post-Secondary, Adults

Art provides a pathway for individuals to express their inner self while also capturing the outer—this great wide world so intricate it's difficult to define.  Throughout history, humans have sought to  comprehend both their environment and their own inherent cultural uniqueness. This search has become symbolized in their artistic accomplishments and aesthetic heritage. Whether through representations of specific individuals and the human figure or awe-inspiring works of architecture, these art pieces are a window into the creative core of our past. 

In this collection, we will observe the ways in which the soul/spirit has been expressed in art, and how human creativity sheds light upon both individual and cultural identities and its varied interpretations throughout the ages. This collection is organized in three symbolic steps on a stone staircase entitled "The Stone Path of Eternity." To truly travel through each piece, I have included an image, a brief description of the work under information, and then, signified by the yellow (1) above, I've provided my own analysis and interpretation of the piece in its relationship to the collection theme. 

Through lingering through the "Stone Path of Eternity," which is represented by the first two tiles, we will from one stone to the next in seeking the many ways in which the soul's expression can be defined. 

In Stone Number One, "The Spirit's Encased Construct," we'll see how architecture and large-scale artistic projects merge to reflect both cultural identity and the individuality of their leaders through works from ancient Babylonia, Egypt, the Byzantine Empire and into the combinations made possible by the aesthetic  innovations of modern times. 

Shifting step to Stone Number Two, "Human Identity Immortalized in Matter," we delve into the ways in which the human figure is represented and what these images can share with us in terms of the varying levels, purposes, intentions behind the artist's created expressions and impact of depicting the Spirit on Earth. This idea is exemplified in creations ranging from the Paleolithic period to modern times, with examples from Egypt, Ancient Greece,  the Italian Renaissance and the 20th century popular culture. 

Finally, in Stone Number Three,"Individuals and Spirituality Entwine," we step into the door of the spirit directly, traveling through the many methods which cultures apply in trying to simultaneously convey and understand what realms are in union with and beyond this life.  Some cultures who address this idea in their artistic tradition are seen in instances of Egyptian art and work from ancient and Hellenistic Greece, as well as both the Italian Renaissance, Northern European Renaissance, and contemporary Western art. 

 The intended audience for this collection is just as varied as my subject matter. Those who might be drawn to this collection are people attracted to the enigmas of life and death, who have questioned their place in society and the mysteries this world has to hold, and are curious to know more about how, historically, cultures have related to these probing questions—for, as you will see, they certainly have existed as long as humans have walked the earth. No matter if you're in high school, college, or beyond formal education, I hope you will find my musings on these artworks and their meanings compelling and thought-provoking. 

Renowned artist and poet William Blake once wrote, "To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour."   From the most abstract art to the remarkably realistic, there is always an image of ourselves, in the an esoteric sense, waiting to be found within.  With its timeless method, Art seeks to create a definition for this all-encompassing and ever-evading essence and I hope to continue that quest with you as we explore this collection. #AHMC2019

Stone Number One

Emma Geller

The Ishtar Gate

Bible History Online

The Temple of Ramesses II

American Historical Society

Interior of San Vitale

Geometrie Fluide

Dream Temple

Public Delivery

Stone Number Two

Emma Geller

The Mask of Tutankhamun

Egyptian Museum

The Mask of Agamemnon

National Archaeological Museum, Athens

Seated Scribe

Wikipedia

The Penitent Magdalene

Wall Street Journal

Dance at Bouvigal

Emma Geller

The Revelers (200)

NYCLOVESNYC

NYCLOVESNYC

NYCLOVESNYC

Marilyn Diptych

MasterWorksFineArt

Stone Number Three

Emma Geller

The Death of Sarpedon

art261.community.uaf.edu

The Last Judgment

michelangelo.org

Hesitate

Sartle