A PEACEABLE KINGDOM
Edward Hicks 1780 – 1849) was an American folk painter and Minister of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He became a Quaker icon because of his paintings depicting values of non violence, tolerance and equality. Quaker beliefs , however, prohibited a lavish life , owning many possessions or engaging in frivolous activities. Unable to maintain his work as a preacher and painter at the same time, Hicks transitioned in middle age into a life of painting and used his canvases to convey his beliefs. He painted many versions of the themes of peace and harmony , juxtaposing humans and animals to represent the idea of breaking physical barriers of difference to working and living together in harmony. He created over 60 versions of “The Peaceable Kingdom”. Many of his paintings further exemplify this concept by featuring in the background, Native Americans greeting the settlers of Pennsylvania. He went on to teach his cousin , artist Thomas Hicks ,who became a celebrated portrait painter of Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens, and George Washington. Edward Hick’s works are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others.
Henri Rousseau 1844- 1910, was a self taught French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive style, who painted the theme of "A Peaceable Kingdom" within his paintings of jungles. He began painting in his mid 40’s and he retired from his job as a toll collector and at the age of 49 to pursue painting full time . He lived a modest life in a small artist studio in Paris, with dreams of exotic landscapes filled with lush plants and wild animals. He was obsessed with jungles and through his paintings he represented nature in balance. His work was not readily accepted by the art establishment. Eventually it was embraced by the artistic luminaries of Paris including Picasso, who happened upon one of his canvases being sold on the street to be painted over. He recognized Rousseau’s artistic genius and championed him . Henri Rousseau influenced generations of younger artists including Picasso and the Surrealists. In his lifetime he did not receive recognition or achieve monetary success, often supplementing his small pension by playing music on the street. However, today he remains one of the most prominent French artists and has had enduring influence.
Celebrating Thanksgiving and Native American Day this week, gives pause for reflection and a sense of gratitude for the positive things in such divisive and uncertain times. With that in mind, I chose two artists, that within their art ,envisioned
" A Peaceable Kingdom “ . Using a jungle theme as a backdrop, the class was inspired to created their own versions which included some of their favorite animals. Working from their original drawings
( which were wonderful),they added color using paint sticks and brush pens . As usual we were rushed to get everything completed but the results were worth it. Enjoy this week’s gallery of delightful art and thank you again for your continued support and your kind words. Have a nice holiday week.