Although we admire works of art for their aesthetic qualities and the pleasure they bring us, the visual arts often address social injustice and send political messages. Three works form The Ringling’s collection exemplify how art has been used in this manner.
The David, the iconic sculpture by Michelangelo, was conceived of as a political statement by the city fathers of Florence. The Florentines adopted the image of the youthful biblical hero as a symbol of their own struggle against the former ruling family, the Medici. Placed in the main square of the city, the sculpture sent a message that the citizens would no longer tolerate the rule of tyrants. View on eMuseum
The Triumph of the Eucharist series
The Triumph of the Eucharist, both the paintings and tapestries, were created during the height of the Protestant Reformation as a pictorial statement affirming the preeminence and doctrines of the Catholic Church. Isabella Clara Eugenia, who commissioned these works, saw them as a public demonstration of her role as an ardent defender of the faith. View on eMuseum
The Flaying of Marsyas
The Flaying of Marsyas by Apollo by artist Anotnio de Bellis, depicts a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The foolish satyr has had the arrogance to challenge Apollo, the god of music, to a musical competition. The painting depicts Marsyas being flayed alive, the obvious loser of the contest, by Apollo. This image was intended to be a warning that the government would tolerate no challenges to its power and authority. View on eMuseum