The body and the ephemeral transition into death is always a mystery and source of art for humanity. My thesis paper explores how the body is both a symbol of a vessel for life and a gateway into death. Artisans of the Renaissance elaborately engraved their associations with the putrefaction of the body and its inevitable resurrection on the tombs of noblemen and priests. This theme was prevalent at the time and demonstrates the significance of the body as a symbol for death.
I will discuss how certain contemporary artists take a idiosyncratic approach to death and its associations. Julian Schnabel’s Christ Last Day paintings explore the objectivity and transcendence capable within the imagery of bones. How they, like canvas, are a vessel for the meaning and experiences of the artists. The symbols of death are used masterfully in the installations of Paul Thek. His work uses his own body as a symbol for death as entombment and resurrection.
In my own painting Michael Jackson’s Tomb I elucidate an imaginary scenario to investigate the objectivity of the body and ephemeral and somber aspects of tombs. I wished to paint the liberation of Michael Jackson of his existential burden as pop star through death. A resurrection and entombment in the same body, like the transmutation represented by the stone of the alchemist’s.
Art around death has always been around and forever will be. The body itself is dominant and deep symbolism for the mysteries of death and transcendence. I will investigate the symbols and art humans use to represent completely ephemeral and abstract situations associated with death