Mortality: See the Brush Stokes


Georges de la Tour

I have often contemplated mortality, life, death, the inevitable end of everything we know… I’m a Christian, so life after death is a positive thing for me. I believe that it will be infinetly better than the here and now. However, for artists throughout time, this issue has been of great importance: from Hans Holbein to the famous British artist Damien Hirst.

Why does human mortality cross these artists minds? Why is it so deep in their thoughts that it comes out in so many paintings? I believe that in part it is because artists doen’t view the world the same way that others do. We do not see the surface of an object and take it at face value. In fact we don’t merely glance at a table and see a table, or a painting and see a painting. We see the wood that the table is made out of. We see the scratches on the surface created by the use over time. We see shapes created by color and shadow in the painting. We notice that the frame helps or hurts the quality of the image. We see the brush strokes…

So it would make sence that this “sight” translates to our lives. We see the “brush strokes” of time. We pick up on subtle changes in the world around us. We see the spring flowers are a slightly deeper shade of purple today indicating that they will soon fall to the ground, having been used up and discarded.

So the obvious human mortality does not go unnoticed by us artists. We are all too aware of the fact that we are here now, we will be slightly different tomorrow, and than eventually we will be gone. Is that too morbid of a thought for you? Well, remember that you can make the most of your life today! If you are a Christian like me, than you can do your best to do what God wants you too do. You may have an amazing calling to change the world, or maybe you were meant to better and enrich the lives of those around you. Whatever your purpose is do it to the best of your abilities.


Damien Hirst

Frans Hals



3 thoughts on “Mortality: See the Brush Stokes

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