Sunday, April 25, 2010
Peace is Coming
Peace is Coming
The artwork “Peace is Coming” is a very extensive and symbolism-filled painting about the second coming of Jesus Christ. It was painted between 2006 and 2007 and represents everyone who has ever fought in a war’s submission to the peace found in God. It is a fine art piece, with the original kept by the artist, and many reproductions on canvas and print available for purchase. The artist, Jon McNaughton, is a devout follower of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and has done many painting on temples and early Mormon Church historical events. He considered it quite an emotional experience to paint this picture, and he stated that at several points he chose to put himself in the position of a certain warrior or soldier in order to feel what they may have been thinking. I can only imagine some to the anguish and hardships faced by many of the warriors in this picture, and I think this approach would have greatly added to its accuracy. Several other pieces revolve around the End times, and the Mormon
belief of Jesus coming to the Americas. It also features the American soldier, as modeled after Cody Henscheid, another Mormon from Utah and member of the 101st Airborne who received a bronze cross medal for his bravery in battle.
The painting has an extremely large amount of work put into it. It has both literal future events portrayed, and a large amount of symbolism with the many various portrayals of soldiers and with Jesus’ figure. One of the key features is the amount of work put into the clothing of Jesus. The central portion of the robe includes a picture of the Tree of Life, it has seven branches, representing the seven dispensations of time, twelve pieces of fruit, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and seven roots, representing the seven creation periods. The larger central branch represents the millennium of peace promised in the Bible, while the largest root represents the seventh day, on which God rested. There is also, an Alpha and Omega symbol on either side of Jesus’ robe, along with a winding Olive branch design, representing the peace that is in the future. Isaiah 2:4, one of the texts that inspired the painting, can be found written in ancient Hebrew around God’s belt. Jesus facial expression proved challenging to the artist who said he “wanted His face to be peaceful, yet you knew He was coming to do business”. Jesus was also quite Aryan, something we rarely think about unless challenged in our thinking of the fact. Many cultures chose to portray Jesus as one of their own or with similar racial features, despite His part Nazarene birth. Another verse, which was the more important to the theme and less the inspiration, is Romans 14:11, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess praise God”. None of the soldiers are higher than Jesus.
A further amount of rich symbolism can be found in the surrounding painting. Mortal enemies in real life are portrayed as docile to one another in the painting. A Japanese samurai can be found weighing down the WW2 pilot of the Enola Gay, whose guilt was said to be tremendous at the sheer loss of human life. The female Israeli soldier, according to the website, was painted in to represent all the women in the armed forces across the globe. Satan also makes an appearance, skulking next to the black knight, and moving away from God’s glory. McNaughton said he painted in Satan to represent the fact that whenever there was a war, Satan was not far off, both in nature and in responsibility. The World Trade Center’s wreckage can be seen in the background, which is a representation of the sacrifice of many innocents for the sake of certain ideologies. To the right of the background, three cross-like cavalry flags can be seen, which mark the sacrifice made by Jesus at the crucifixion.
This work is very significant to those who may have experienced the atrocities of war, or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. To me, it serves as a reminder of all the hardships Humanity has had to come through and that we will all face the same fate someday, even the world’s most fierce warriors. This painting can be considered a very extensive work of art about the glory we are to experience at the End Times.