Juan Valdes Leal: The End Of Earthly Glory

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Yousef Alloughani Dr. Tatiana Sizonenko Art History May 17, 2016 Introduction Among the oldest forms of art are paintings. The earliest paintings date back to 300 B.C.E. where people at the time were accustomed to painting inside caves. Painting was done using fingers, knives brushes and other tools that would enable memorization and decoration to stick to the minds of the viewers. For this, paintings were used as sources of entertainment and worshipping. Throughout our lives, we have had a chance to view a few paintings and they have always had a memorable vision but many people have not had the correct interpretation of the past paintings. One of the remarkable painters of the past is Juan Valdes Leal. This paper is focused on writing about…show more content…
From the title, the work is meant to be a warning to the world as its glory would end. A crypt sites a bone with a bishop’s coffin open and there is a decomposing coffin at its side. Occult items, i.e., a human heart and a goat are hanging on scales which are held by a celestial arm. The celestial arm is disembodied. The heart and the arm are weighed against Catholic objects which are depicted as Holy. The Catholic objects include a heart with Christ’s coat-of-arms at its top. The labeling of the occult objects is NIMAS which means ‘No More’ in English. On the other hand the Catholic objects are labeled ‘NIMENOS’ which means ‘No Less.’ In the back, larks an owl. Since ancient times, the owl symbolizes witchcraft and night. The canvas is bears the name Ictu Oculi which means in the twinkle of an eye. Death is depicted as a scythe-carrying skeleton lugging under its arm a coffin. Its glory triumphs over earthly glory. Earth’s glory is symbolized by gold crowns, armor, a head piece and a bishop’s…show more content…
The Spanish then believed in death and other dark things. On the lighter side, there were Christians who believed in glory through following the church’s teachings. It was by then popular for Spanish and Italian artists to incorporate this fascination in their paintings. Supernatural elements were incorporated into many allegorical paintings. The era was marked by skeletons and occult elements and also Christian element like the human heart and Bishop’s stuff. Through, Leal’s paintings, we are able to connect to 17th Century Spain’s culture and its social way of life. Works cited Artnet Worldwide Corporation. “The Visitation by Juan de Valdes Leal.” Artnet Worldwide Corporation.(2016):1. Online Ju He. “Juan de Valdes Leal verse Audrey Flack.” Ju He’s Art Gallery. (2011): 1. Online Jonathan Brown. “Hieroglyphs of Death and Salvation: The Decoration of the Church of the Hermandad de la Caridad, Seville.” 52(3). (2014). 265-271 National Gallery of Art. “The collection: Valdes Leal, Juan de.”(n.d.): 1. Online Noah Charney. “The Secret History of Art: Valdes Leal in Ictu Oculi & Finis Gloriae Mundi.”The Journal of Art Crime. (2010): 1. Online The Editors. “Juan de Nisa Valdés Leal.”Encyclopædia Britannica. (n.d.): 1.Online The San Diego Museum of Art, “The San Diego Museum of Art Announces Newest Acquisition.” Aug 29, 2014:

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