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A Profound Lack of Symbolism and Coded Communication in Art Today

March 4, 2010

Well-known artists, now long since gone, frequently utilized symbolism and coded communications in their work. Picasso and Da Vinci immediately come to mind.

There are many reasons artists included symbolism or embedded messages in their paintings: some used art as a form of cryptograph; others used symbolic code to hide esoteric secrets; some to further their careers, to promote a person or a cause, or to communicate covertly with like-minded individuals.

For the most part, art today lacks this substance, intrigue and mystery. Many of the greatest paintings of all time were created with obscurity as their foundation.

Where has the creative edge of intrigue and masterful-mystery in art gone? Are modern day artists not as talented or creative as their predecessors?  Are artists today simply attempting to cater to a creativity-numbed, cookie-cutter, great unwashed society?

This post was written as a challenge to artists – an invitation to sit in front of the easel today and create something entirely unique; a painting full of mystery, intrigue and obscurity. Let the next piece you paint include both symbolism and coded communication. Allow yourself to create your masterpiece.

Here is a collection of works from artists on who are “pushing the envelope” with symbolism and covert messaging. Can you decipher their code?

Woman with birds by Ruben Cukier

SEA BREEZE by Angus  Macpherson

Woman with Birds
Ruben Cukier
Angus Macpherson
Girl with Lamb by Ralph MacDonald

Feast of the Divine by Maggie Stewart

Girl with Lamb
Ralph MacDonald

“Feast of the Divine”
By: Maggie Stewart

He Loves Me He Loves Me Not by Niki Sands

In The World 1 Basra and Amagansett by Eleanor Gilpatrick

He Loves Me He Loves Me Not
By:Niki Sands

In The World 1 Basra and Amagansett
By: Eleanor Gilpatrick

The Mask by Alan King

ONCE UP ON A TIME... by Sunita Dixit

The Mask
By:Alan King

By: Sunita Dixit

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Posted via web from New Artwork, Photography and Sculpture Just Listed on

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