War and Peace
I would like to post this week on the theme of"war and peace". Above all, I pray for peace in Ukraine.
War has disastrous results. There are no winners or losers. Everything is ruined. There was an artist who expressed the horrors of this war with pictures.
Sir Peter Paul Rubens (/ˈruːbənz/; Dutch: [ˈrybə(n)s]; 28 June 1577 – 30 May 1640) was a Flemish artist and diplomat from the Duchy of Brabant in the Southern Netherlands (modern-day Belgium). Rubens was a painter producing altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects. Additionally, he was a diplomat. In the early 16th century, Europe was in a state of religious and social conflict.
The Thirty Years' War broke out, and civil wars continued in England. The Netherlands was also divided into a Protestant nation that resisted Spanish Catholic rule and a faction ruled by the Spanish allies, creating a constant crisis of war.
During this time, Rubens, as a painter representing the Catholic camp, received painting orders from Catholic heads of European countries and political leaders, and toured Europe to honor his paintings, performing political and diplomatic missions.
Perhaps because he traveled all over Europe with a political view as a diplomat, looking at Rubens' paintings, the horrors of war become more concrete.
The painting below is one of his masterpieces called "Consequences of War(Los horrores de la guerra)".
Consequences of War (Horror of war)was painted between 1638-1639 in oil paint on canvas. It describes as a commentary on a European continent damaged by the Thirty Years' War, and the artist employed numerous symbols, both contemporary and ancient, to deplore the state of the continent.
Human morals, values, religion, beliefs, culture, humanity, etc. War destroys everything that mankind has built up.
If you look closely at a soldier symbolized by the god of war, you can see that books and paintings are spread under his feet.
Underneath Mars's feet lie a book and a drawing. These represent the manner in which the arts and letters are forgotten and destroyed in the chaos and violence of war.
And the woman on the left, wearing a black cloak, stands with her arms facing the sky as if screaming. The child in the left corner is crouching holding her globe. This child's pose momentarily overlaps with those of Ukrainian children sitting in shelters while evacuating. The woman she wears black is a symbol of Europe. The figure to Venus 's left represents Europe and its suffering. Her cross-topped globe represents the Christian world and is carried by the small angel to her immediate left her.
And look at the people suffering from war in the right corner. They are women and children. In fact, Rubens painted the woman holding the child below as a symbol of mercy. The goddess of mercy in war looks very precarious and weak.
Rubens tried to convey the message of peace in the crisis of war in the countries that participated in the war by carrying the paintings with diplomatic messages.
He drew a picture of peace in contrast to the picture of war above, in sharp contrast to the images of war and peace. In a different atmosphere from the war paintings above, Rubens painted a painting about peace. He produced it in London between 1629 and 1630, during a diplomatic mission from the Spanish Netherlands to Charles I of England.
Pax, a woman who symbolizes peace in Greek mythology, is sitting in a relaxed and happy posture, different from the war picture above. Next to her is a child named Plutus, who symbolizes her wealth, and is happy to drink her woman's breast milk. Her floor is full of fruits and food and overflows. This is the natural result of preventing war and maintaining peace. The women and children in the picture are dressed in beautiful clothes, eating abundantly, and performing very well.
And in the left corner of the screen, a woman is singing and dancing with a tambourine. We see the culture and art that were trampled upon during the war to be revived in a time of peace.
And there is something peculiar about this picture. Like Rubens' war painting above, everyone in the peace painting is looking in their own direction. But only one girl of peace is looking at us.
It's as if this girl wants to confirm our will to keep the peace.
Myungja Anna Koh