|Knowledge Will Bring
30" x 48"
Knowledge is the master key to life. It teaches
us about ourselves and the world around us and
brings people together. Knowledge shows us
where we have been and how others before us
got to where they are. Knowledge is the world's
most valuable commodity and once learned,
can never be taken away.
Symbolism in the painting.
I painted this piece for myself but if you are
curious as to what it is about...
The Louvre in Paris houses a sculpture from the 2nd century
BCE, called the Winged Victory of Samothrace. It is believed that
this statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, was commissioned in
ancient Greece to celebrate a great naval victory. She was
originally positioned on the marble bow of a Greek trireme ship in
a temple setting. The trireme was a boat that had three rows of
oars on each side. The figure in this painting is the Winged
Victory statue personified. The ship in the upper right corner is a
Nike is often seen with Athena in ancient Greek art. Athena is the
goddess of wisdom, just wars and humanity and is represented
here by her amour. One of her symbols, the owl, who can see in
the dark, is a metaphor for intelligence. An owl is placd on
Athena’s helmet. Her shield is combined with Leonardo
DaVinci's Vitruvian Man, also a symbol of knowledge.
In the painting, Nike is holding a laurel wreath for the victor and
Athena’s sword. Neither the goddess of victory nor the goddess
of war would have soft, manicured hands. Since Nike is holding
a sword; I think she would have the hands needed to use it.
The spiral drawn in the sand is called the golden ratio or in Greek, phi. It is a measurement where one part increases to 1.6 for the next part. It is
seen in the increasing size of the spirals of a seashell. Plato considered phi to be the key to the physics of the cosmos. During the Italian Renaissance
and in ancient Greece, the golden mean was the ratio of perfection.
Phidias, the sculptor of the ancient Greek Parthenon, used phi to determine the proportions of his statues. Leon Batista Alberti's Treatise on Painting,
written during the Italian Renaissance, promoted studying the Greeks and mathematics to create great art. Alberti believed that phi should guide artists
in everything that they create.
Many scholars believe that Beethoven knew of and interpreted the golden mean in works such as this violin sonata. Stradivarius used it in his
construction of violins. There is a phi spiral in the composition, upside down, beginning at the upper right rock, curving around the phi in the sand and
the little rocks and up into the rock that Nike is standing on.
Leonardo, Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Rembrandt, all represented in this painting, are humanists in their own ways. The painting of Medusa by
Caravaggio is his interpretation of a shield painted by Leonardo which has been lost. Athena turned Medusa into the snake headed monster that turns
men (not women) into stone.
The other books in the painting show us ways to live and that it is important to allow for new ideas on old subjects, but always follow logic to base
Aristotle, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
Systematic reasoning starts with basic premises or common denominators.
Marcus Aurelius, “You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Rene Descartes, “I think therefore I am” and since I can think it is better to know than to doubt; but to know, first I must doubt.
“Doubt is the origin of wisdom”
“ If when I don’t perceive the truth clearly and distinctly enough I simply suspend judgment.”
“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”
John Locke, “The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.”
The social contract: “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
Also in the painting is Copernicus' drawing of the solar system and Galileo's telescope. All of these people believed in the potential of human beings
and their search for knowledge.
This painting is about knowing our past in order to know where to point our future and our moral compass. It is about seeking out knowledge.
Knowledge will bring victory.