There is something powerfully resonant about these two images of The Flood – of worldwide disaster and human suffering.
In Poussin’s dark, grey painting (on the left) we see a figure desperately praying in the middle, because that’s one of the things we do when we are desperate!
The ark of safety is very hard to see – but it is there in the background.
In Michelangelo’s more colourful fresco of the same Biblical story, we see human solidarity in suffering – people helping each other, carrying each other, comforting each other.
We see ourselves in the figures’ nakedness – with all that we bring into the world (just our bodies), and all we take away. Shakespeare said we are a “poor, bare, forked animal”.
As in Poussin’s painting, the ark is in the background.
And I wonder what trials you and those you know and care about are going through.
Are you getting support?
And where or what is your ark?
2 thoughts on “Advent Art (3) – An Ark Amongst Suffering”
Excellent contrast of these two paintings. I like that the ark is in the background in both paintings. Human beings and their reactions to each other are in the forefront in both cases. The ark is our accountability to each other! In the United States there is a disproportionate emphasis on people’s constitutional rights – even when those rights are not in the constitution! So people go around heedless of pandemic guidelines, caring not one bit if they put others, including their own family members, at risk. So much of life in this country is self-centred, and the pandemic is exposing the deadly extent and consequences of so-called American rugged individualism.
Thank you for your comment, Kostas. I love your line about the ark being our accountability to each other.