Life after death is a big part of many religions, especially Christianity –– which acts as the inspiration behind many of the world’s most well known works of art –– so it’s no great surprise that there is such a vast array of paintings of Heaven and Hell easily within reach.
In preparing for this post, I uncreatively plugged “paintings” into the google search bar, and the first thing that came up, of course, was “paintings of Heaven”. I knew, immediately, that it would be the same trope: a baby-blue coated sky, clouds, angels, maybe a tree. Many of these followed this; but they were all just slightly different — which begged the question, does everyone think of Heaven in a different light (no pun intended)?
When people imagine the happiest place they could be, everyone’s perception must be slightly different. For example, a six-year-old’s would most likely be a lineless Disneyland, mine would have eternal kittens, and Campbell Gee of “Fashion Soup For The Sartorial Soul” would have an endless supply of stylish black clothes.
Similarly, people have their own perceptions of what Hell would be. Of course, in traditional paintings of Hell, there’s fire, suffering, a black monster devouring crying humans, all that jazz.
People use “Heaven” and “Hell” so liberally in describing a situation, that wondering at different perceptions of the two is actually not so far-fetched. Different people know what makes them happy — their Heaven — and what makes them fearful — their Hell. So, for this installment of P.A.I.N.T.I.N.G., I decided I would lump what people fear and what they aspire in the only way I know how: collage.
Words and collages by Ella Luna.