By Ernest Goldstein
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Extra resources for Understanding and Creating Art
This picture was finished a few months before his death. Notice all the animals are now up front. The leopard stretches out in the center. The golden yellows of the cats create a mellow mood. The old lion has lost its arrogance and has Figure 31. The community of Syracuse, New York, purchased this version for the Everson Museum in Syracuse. Ask why an artist might paint the same work again and again. 7 might offer that Hicks had found the appropriate form for expressing his feelings and idt . Figure 32.
FEATURE SYMBOLS AND ALLEGORIES Often, an artist uses symbols to help tell the story or get across the message of a work. A symbol is a sign that stands for some object or an idea. A symbol can be a picture, a letter or word, a color, or a design. You saw how Edward Hicks used animals to represent different characteristics and moods in his Peaceable Kingdom paintings. He also used colors to represent seasons and different periods of time. How did Hicks use the tree branch as a symbol? Hicks painted The Peaceable Kingdom in 1824, when the United States was still considered a "child" among nations.
In this way you can see the distance between the future and the past. If everything was taking place on the same level, the groups of figures would be the same size. The Biblical part of the story is shown on a raised platform in front. This increases its size and importance. The historical part of the story, the treaty, is smaller and in back. In this way Hicks solved the problem of importance. He brought together in one painting the biblical prophecy and the peace treaty. He made the two stories part of the same — vision of peace on earth.