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Allegory Collection

Allegory, a powerful artistic tool that transcends time and culture, has the ability to convey profound messages through symbolism and metaphor

Background imageAllegory Collection: Platos Cave Allegory

Platos Cave Allegory
In Platos Republic Socrates likens mankind to prisoners in a cave who see only the shadows of reality, and the philosophers to those who have been given a glimpse of it

Background imageAllegory Collection: 'Bulbo en flor'. A lily bulb in bloom palced on a white inclined surface

"Bulbo en flor". A lily bulb in bloom palced on a white inclined surface. Argentina Buenos Aires. Date of Photograph:1940 ca

Background imageAllegory Collection: A Star Explodes - Norman Lindsay

A Star Explodes - Norman Lindsay
A Star Explodes by Norman Lindsay Date: 1932

Background imageAllegory Collection: Kiss of the Oceans - Atlantic meets Pacific - Panama Canal

Kiss of the Oceans - Atlantic meets Pacific - Panama Canal
The Kiss of the Oceans - The Atlantic meets the Pacific due to the construction of The Panama Canal - A lovely allegorical card relating to this phenomenal engineering project

Background imageAllegory Collection: The Workers May-Pole, design for a socialist poster

The Workers May-Pole, design for a socialist poster
The Workers May-Pole, a design for a socialist poster, with a central allegorical figure, and banners and ribbons labelled with abstract ideas such as Leisure, Solidarity and Humanity. Date: 1894

Background imageAllegory Collection: WALL STREET: BEARS & BULLS. Bulls and Bears in the Market. An allegorical painting by William H

WALL STREET: BEARS & BULLS. Bulls and Bears in the Market. An allegorical painting by William H. Beard, 1879

Background imageAllegory Collection: TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT, 1887. Devils Toboggan Slide. Temperance broadsheet published, 1887

TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT, 1887. Devils Toboggan Slide. Temperance broadsheet published, 1887, at Kalamazoo, Michigan

Background imageAllegory Collection: Science Allegorised

Science Allegorised
Philosophy enthroned, surrounded by the sciences - Grammar, Rhetoric, Linguistics, Music, Arithmetic, Geometry and Astronomy, with Socrates and Plato and scholars writing

Background imageAllegory Collection: Construction of the Statue of Liberty, Paris

Construction of the Statue of Liberty, Paris
Construction of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, before shipping to New York. 1885

Background imageAllegory Collection: Deaths Dispensary. An 1866 cartoon indicating water pollution as a source of disease

Deaths Dispensary. An 1866 cartoon indicating water pollution as a source of disease
POLLUTION CARTOON, 1866. Deaths Dispensary. An 1866 cartoon indicating water pollution as a source of disease

Background imageAllegory Collection: Alchemical tree, Philosophia reformata

Alchemical tree, Philosophia reformata
The Alchemical Tree. Engraving depicting a tree surrounded by figures used in allegory by alchemists. The tree itself carries symbols representing the Moon, Sun and five planets

Background imageAllegory Collection: GAUGUIN: PAINTING, 1897. Where Do We Come From / What Are We / Where Are We Going

GAUGUIN: PAINTING, 1897. Where Do We Come From / What Are We / Where Are We Going. Oil on canvas by Paul Gauguin, 1897

Background imageAllegory Collection: Summer, 1896. Artist: Alphonse Mucha

Summer, 1896. Artist: Alphonse Mucha
Summer, 1896. From the series Les Saisons. Found in the collection of the State A Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Background imageAllegory Collection: Beat the Whites with the red wedge (Poster), 1920. Artist: Lissitzky, El (1890-1941)

Beat the Whites with the red wedge (Poster), 1920. Artist: Lissitzky, El (1890-1941)
Beat the Whites with the red wedge (Poster), 1920. Found in the collection of the Russian State Library, Moscow

Background imageAllegory Collection: Lord, have mercy on London. Contemporary English woodcut on the Great Plague of 1665

Lord, have mercy on London. Contemporary English woodcut on the Great Plague of 1665
PLAGUE OF LONDON, 1665. Lord, have mercy on London. Contemporary English woodcut on the Great Plague of 1665

Background imageAllegory Collection: A Jaipur Allegory

A Jaipur Allegory
Look Out, The Elephants Coming! An artists impression of the dominant Jaipur Polo team. Having won the Indian Polo Association Championship in December 1932

Background imageAllegory Collection: Night and Her Daughter Sleep, 1902. Creator: Mary L. Macomber

Night and Her Daughter Sleep, 1902. Creator: Mary L. Macomber
Night and Her Daughter Sleep, 1902

Background imageAllegory Collection: An Allegory with Venus and Cupid, c1523-1568. Artist: Agnolo Bronzino

An Allegory with Venus and Cupid, c1523-1568. Artist: Agnolo Bronzino
An Allegory with Venus and Cupid, c1523-1568. The picture is likely to be that mentioned in Vasaris Life of Bronzino of 1568. From the collection of the National Gallery, London

Background imageAllegory Collection: The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut, from the Liber chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel

The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut, from the Liber chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel. Colored engraving

Background imageAllegory Collection: Illustration of Icarus and Daedalus

Illustration of Icarus and Daedalus

Background imageAllegory Collection: POLLUTION CARTOON, 1866. Deaths Dispensary

POLLUTION CARTOON, 1866. Deaths Dispensary. An 1866 cartoon indicating water pollution as a source of disease

Background imageAllegory Collection: Female jockeys riding gentlemen like horses

Female jockeys riding gentlemen like horses
Two women jockeys with riding crops, spur on their steeds - not horses, but top-hatted and tailed gentlemen who wear bridles in their mouths

Background imageAllegory Collection: French Republican Calendar for 1794 (Year III). Napoleon abolished this calendar

French Republican Calendar for 1794 (Year III). Napoleon abolished this calendar with effect from l January 1806. Design by Louis Philibert Bebucourt (1755-1832), French painter and printmaker

Background imageAllegory Collection: DANCE: HARKNESS THEATRE. Mural by Enrique Senis-Oliver from the proscenium arch of the Harkness

DANCE: HARKNESS THEATRE. Mural by Enrique Senis-Oliver from the proscenium arch of the Harkness Theatre, on Broadway and 62nd Street in New York City, depicting dancers paying homage to Terpsichore

Background imageAllegory Collection: Classical Greek gods allegorised

Classical Greek gods allegorised
The classical Greek gods allegorised. Date: 18th century

Background imageAllegory Collection: Return of the Prodigal Son, 1773. Artist: Batoni, Pompeo Girolamo (1708-1787)

Return of the Prodigal Son, 1773. Artist: Batoni, Pompeo Girolamo (1708-1787)
Return of the Prodigal Son, 1773. Found in the collection of the Art History Museum, Vienne

Background imageAllegory Collection: Trades union membership certificate

Trades union membership certificate
A trades union membership certificate for the United Operative Plumbers Association of Great Britain and Ireland, with Defence and Defiance as their motto

Background imageAllegory Collection: Justice as depicted on a Tarot card

Justice as depicted on a Tarot card
Comtesse de Segur, nee Sophie Rostopchine, French writer, born in Russia, best known for Les Malheurs de Sophie, first published 1859

Background imageAllegory Collection: Minerva Victorious over ignorance

Minerva Victorious over ignorance
Minervas Victorious over Ignorance. Spranger, Bartholomaeus (1546-1611). Oil on canvas

Background imageAllegory Collection: The Feast of Venus

The Feast of Venus, after 1635. Rubens, Peter Paul (1577-1640). Oil on canvas, 217 x 350 cm

Background imageAllegory Collection: VISION OF DEATH. Vision of Death (on a pale horse), Revelation 6: 8

VISION OF DEATH. Vision of Death (on a pale horse), Revelation 6: 8. Wood engraving after Gustave Dor
VISION OF DEATH. Vision of Death (on a pale horse), Revelation 6:8. Wood engraving after Gustave Dor

Background imageAllegory Collection: Alchemy

Alchemy. Historical artwork by the German artist Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) titled Melencolia I. It represents one of the four temperaments or humours

Background imageAllegory Collection: REPUBLIC OF TURKEY: POSTER. The Republic of Turkey symbolized as an unveiled woman

REPUBLIC OF TURKEY: POSTER. The Republic of Turkey symbolized as an unveiled woman, leading the horse of the regimes founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Poster, c1925

Background imageAllegory Collection: DANCE OF DEATH, 1538. Death and the Soldier. Woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger

DANCE OF DEATH, 1538. Death and the Soldier. Woodcut by Hans Holbein the Younger, from The Dance of Death, published in 1538

Background imageAllegory Collection: Zulu War Britannia 1879

Zulu War Britannia 1879
British Imperialism symbolically represented at the time of the Zulu War

Background imageAllegory Collection: ARCIMBOLDO: SUMMER, 1563. Oil on canvas by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1563

ARCIMBOLDO: SUMMER, 1563. Oil on canvas by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1563

Background imageAllegory Collection: FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, 1550. Fons Mercuralis - the Fountain of Life

FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, 1550. Fons Mercuralis - the Fountain of Life. Woodcut from Rosarium Philosophorum, Frankfurt, Germany, 1550

Background imageAllegory Collection: Absinthe

Absinthe
Allegory on the dangers of drinking Absinthe

Background imageAllegory Collection: The Nike of Samothrace

The Nike of Samothrace Paris, The Louvre Museum Statue Hellenistic, Greek Art, Greece, Europe, Ancient Civilization. Date of Photograph:1906 ca.. Date of Artwork:III-II sec. a.C

Background imageAllegory Collection: The sculpture titled Faith in God, by Lorenzo Bartolini. Face detail. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan

The sculpture titled Faith in God, by Lorenzo Bartolini. Face detail. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan Milan Museo Poldi Pezzoli Sculpture Arts and handicrafts of XIX century, Nineteenth century

Background imageAllegory Collection: The sculpture titled Faith in God, by Lorenzo Bartolini. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan

The sculpture titled Faith in God, by Lorenzo Bartolini. Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan Milan Museo Poldi Pezzoli Sculpture Arts and handicrafts of XIX century, Nineteenth century, 19th century, Europe

Background imageAllegory Collection: Girl in the act of defending a dove, statuette known as 'The Innocence'

Girl in the act of defending a dove, statuette known as "The Innocence", Roman copy of an Hellenistic original of III-II centuries B.C. and now exhibited at the Capitoline Museum, Rome

Background imageAllegory Collection: Grave stele of Demokleides, in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens

Grave stele of Demokleides, in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens Greece Athens, National Archaeological Museum Stele Hellenistic, Greek Art, Greece, Europe, Ancient Civilization

Background imageAllegory Collection: Save Me From My Friends! Amir Sher Ali of Afghanistan endeavors to stand between the Russian bear

Save Me From My Friends! Amir Sher Ali of Afghanistan endeavors to stand between the Russian bear
SECOND AFGHAN WAR, 1878. Save Me From My Friends! Amir Sher Ali of Afghanistan endeavors to stand between the Russian bear and the British lion as each eyes the other with suspicion

Background imageAllegory Collection: Ancient Egyptian gods, Isis (r), magical healer and role model to women, and Osiris

Ancient Egyptian gods, Isis (r), magical healer and role model to women, and Osiris, god of fertility and embodiment of the dead

Background imageAllegory Collection: Dantes Inferno, suicides and the Harpies

Dantes Inferno, suicides and the Harpies
Dantes Inferno. Canto XIII, line 11: Here [suicide tree] the brute Harpies make their nest (at right: Dante and Virgil). Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

Background imageAllegory Collection: Young Woman with a Pink, ca. 1485-90. Creator: Hans Memling

Young Woman with a Pink, ca. 1485-90. Creator: Hans Memling
Young Woman with a Pink, ca. 1485-90. Once part of an allegorical diptych - the pink symbolizing betrothal or marriage

Background imageAllegory Collection: Jacob Blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, 1656. Artist: Rembrandt van Rhijn (1606-1669)

Jacob Blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, 1656. Artist: Rembrandt van Rhijn (1606-1669)
Jacob Blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, 1656. Found in the collection of Staatliche Museen, Kassel



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Allegory, a powerful artistic tool that transcends time and culture, has the ability to convey profound messages through symbolism and metaphor. Just like Plato's Cave Allegory, which explores the concept of enlightenment and the struggle to perceive reality beyond our limited perceptions. In Norman Lindsay's "A Star Explodes, " we witness an explosion of ideas and emotions as art becomes a catalyst for change. Similarly, the meeting of Atlantic and Pacific in the Panama Canal symbolizes unity and connectivity on a global scale in "Kiss of the Oceans. " "The Workers May-Pole" serves as a design for a socialist poster, representing solidarity among laborers striving for equality. Meanwhile, William H. Beard's allegorical painting "WALL STREET: BEARS & BULLS" captures the volatile nature of financial markets with its depiction of animals symbolizing market trends. An 1866 cartoon titled "Deaths Dispensary" sheds light on water pollution as a source of disease, urging society to address environmental issues responsibly. In Lissitzky's iconic poster "Beat the Whites with the red wedge, " we see political commentary through abstract symbolism during revolutionary times. The alchemical tree in Philosophia reformata represents transformation and spiritual growth while reflecting upon ancient wisdom passed down through generations. The Temperance Movement broadsheet from 1887 warns against alcohol abuse using vivid imagery like devils sliding down toboggans. Through Alphonse Mucha's artwork titled "Summer, " we are transported into an idyllic world where nature thrives harmoniously with humanity—a reminder to cherish our environment amidst industrialization. Lastly, an 1866 pollution cartoon emphasizes how human actions can have dire consequences on our health and well-being. These diverse examples demonstrate how allegories serve as mirrors reflecting societal concerns or aspirations throughout history—inviting us to ponder deeper meanings behind seemingly simple images or narratives.