Symbolism in Art

Artists have long used symbols to convey a message, an idea, an emotion, a story etc with their creations. The message behind a painting is not always obvious to all who view it, especially if it’s a very old masterpiece that was created with symbols that may very well have been easily understood by people from the past but not by the younger generations of today. Sometimes the meaning behind a work of art is confused if not totally lost depending on the cultural orientation of the person looking at it. 

 
Color symbolism for one has changed over time. Culture is also a factor in how color symbolism is interpreted. Animal symbols are also seen differently by different people. Art can be interpreted in any way we choose to. That is the beauty in it. It can be anything we want it to be, but for people who are fascinated with it for all the stories it represents, the key to understanding any particular art piece would be to learn about the artist, the period in history when it was created, the cultural setting and the meaning of the art symbols at the time.   
 

Apple

The apple is a popular subject in many works of art, both classical and modern. In the Christian tradition, it is often depicted as the fruit of the forbidden tree which Adam and Eve ate after being tempted by the serpent. For today’s technology-driven generation however the apple symbolizes a totally different proposition.  
 
 Apple Art
Taken from: http://swightr.blogspot.co.il/2011/12/2-things-challenge.html
  

Lotus Flower

Without knowing what the lotus flower means in Hinduism, any artistic depiction of the Goddess Lakshmi will not have any deep significance to anyone looking at it. The lotus flower symbolizes how wise and truly enlightened Lakshmi is, remaining pure and unspoilt despite being the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, just like the lotus flower which remains beautiful and untouched by the murky waters from which it emerged.
 
Lotus Flower in Art 
 
Taken from: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/pink-lotus-susie-weaver.html
 
 Lotus Flower in Art

The Color Blue

Why do artists almost always portray the Virgin Mary wearing blue? The color blue traditionally symbolizes truth and clarity, apart from being the color of the sky which symbolizes heaven, where she belongs being the Mother of God.  
 
  Virgin Mary Blue


Lion

Lions are symbolic of monarchs in the Hebrew Bible and throughout the Ancient Near East. The painting tells of the story of Daniel who was thrown into the lions’ den for continuing to pray to his God YHVH despite King Darius’ decree that for 30 days no one was to pray to any god or man except to him. The next day Daniel emerged unharmed. The lions here represent the empires and nations of the world, surrounding Israel.  
 
Lion in art 
 

The Triangle 

Religious symbolism looks at the triangle as the trinity. In pagan symbolism a triangle pointing upwards represents a sword or fire (masculinity), while a triangle pointing downwards represents the chalice or water (femininity). 
 
Triangle in Art
 
Taken From: http://harmonicgeometry.com/uncategorized/sacred-geometry-equilateral-triangle-art/
 


Related Categories: Animals    Color Symbolism   

 

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis
His amazing originality, in comparison with all the present art, makes you think that he was indeed born by the deep native powers.
ciurlionis.licejus.lt/index_en.html
Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis - wikipedia.org    Lithuanian artist and composer    Biography    National Art Museum   

 

On Dimensionality - Paul Laffoley
The Natural Octave of Spatiality and Temporality.
paullaffoley.net/paullaffoley/dimensionality/

 

Alazraki - Symbolic Fine Art
Specialists in Old Master paintings and drawings by Italian, Dutch and Flemish artists and old masters, fine art, dealer, portrait, genre, lansdcape, marine, pictures, old master paintings, 17th, 18th, Centuries.
alazraki.com/

 

Symbolism in Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau to many is characterised by natural organic forms with curvilinear shapes & contours of rhythmic content. Sinuous plant like forms with languid female figures veiled in allegory and sensuality and illustrated by symbols.
antiquevaluers.co.uk/old_harlequins/articles/nouveau.html

 

Armenia by ArmSite
Most eminent Armenian painters, miniatures, rugs and carpets, maps, YerPhI Phonebook, Sona Avagyan, MP3s and much more.
armsite.com/

 

Art of Yael Avi-Yonah - Jewish Symbols
Tzimtzum (Contraction of Creation): The process of creating the world was achieved by the Tzimtzum or contraction which is likened to the folding in of G-d’s hand into its palm to create a “vacant space” which was then occupied by heavenly Jerusalem and the lower & upper Gardens of Eden, crowned by three letters of yod. Also: Parallel Worlds, The Descent of the Letters, The Square in the Face, Havdalla, My Prayer, The Source of Light, The End is in the Beginning, Angel Movement, Jerusalem in the Messianic Era.
art.net/TheGallery/Vision/yael2g.htm

 

Symbolism - Artists and their Works
List of artists and index to where their art can be viewed at art museums worldwide.
artcyclopedia.com/history/symbolism.html

 

Symbolism - artlex.com
Symbolism defined, with images of examples from art history, great quotations, and links to other resources.
artlex.com/ArtLex/s/Symbolism.html

 

Artmagick.com
An eclectic offering of poetry, pictures and original articles. The common thread is a relevance to 19th and early 20th century art and literature.
artmagick.com/

 

Symbolic Art - artpals.com
Sea and Sky, Ancient, Heritage, Balance, Breath of Life, Firefly, Divine Mystery, Eye of Doradus.
artpals.com/symbolic.html

 

Ascii Art Dictionary - Andreas Freise
Large Ascii Art collection, Ascii animations and related information like tutorials, FAQs, etc.
ascii-art.de/

 

Asianart.com
Asian Arts, the on-line journal for the study and exhibition of the arts of Asia.
asianart.com/

 

Butterfly Woman
Vivid Visionary Watercolors by Kristin Celine Kane.
butterflywoman.com/

 

Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth century art movement of French and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbolism_(arts)

 

FolkArt & Craft Exchange(tm)
World Class Art made by indigenous and creative people from all over the world.
folkart.com/

 

Symbolism Art
Symbolism Paintings and Art History study of the movement, Artists, Oil Paintings, Images, connection to other Movements and Art resources.
huntfor.com/arthistory/c19th/symbolism.htm

 

WebMuseum: Artist Index
A - Z.
ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/

 

Native American Art
Fine Native American Art & crafts and Indian Jewelry by local southwest Native American Artists from various Native American Tribes.
indiansummer.com/

 

Marilyn Greenberg Abstract Painter
New York narrative abstract painter Marilyn talks about her recent paintings at Biddington's Contemporary Art Gallery.
marilyngreenberg.com/

 

Art of Darlene P. Coltrain
By the Light of the Cat Fish Moon, Elf Nap, Formal Paisley, Ancient Spring, Castle Shadows.
orionworks.com/artgal/dpc/

 

Art of Steven Vincent Johnson
Mandlebrot Butterfly, Archetype, Double Sunset, Saturn Rise, Far Point by Night, Far Point by Day.
orionworks.com/artgal/svj/

 

Persian Art
The works of: Ostad Ali Asghar Tajvidi, Morteza Katouzian Art Exhibit, Koorosh Angali, Mariam Javaheri, 20 Women/20 Paintings, Afarin Rahmanifar, Farah Ossouli, Abbas Moayeri, and more.
tehran.stanford.edu/Images/

 

Web Gallery of Art
A Virtual museum and searchable database of European fine arts (painting, sculpture) of the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassism and Romanticism periods (1100-1850), containing over 13,500 reproductions.
wga.hu/index1.html

 

 

Search for Symbols Reading List
Blissymbolics Guide to Symbols Hall LAW Graph Home Page Graphics Language of Paradise Meaning of Names Sacred G ONE Semantic Alphabet Semantography Sutton Glyphs
Symbols of the States Symbols on the Trail Thirteen Symbols World Flags