Soldier with Death before a Carousel
Graphite and oil on poster board
‘Artist Arthur Kraft’s experience in World War II influenced Soldier with Death before a Carousel (ca. 1947-51). In this painting, a skeleton wearing a helmet and boots holds a champagne flute. This image likely symbolizes the alcohol abuse many veterans face as a result of their traumatic experiences at war. Both Kraft and the artist Marcus Jansen utilize symbolism in their works. Kraft uses the champagne flutes, figures representing death, and white doves; Jansen depicts empty dishes and a few coins in Empty Plates (2007) to emphasize the economic effects of war on communities, families, and individuals. These signs and symbols reveal personal and universal reflections on war across generations.’
The peacock is a symbol of immortality because the ancients believed that the peacock had flesh that did not decay after death. As such, early Christian paintings and mosaics use peacock imagery, and peacock feathers can be used during the Easter season as church decorations. This symbol of immortality is also directly linked to Christ. The peacock naturally replaces his feathers annually; as such, the peacock is also a symbol of renewal.
In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock is identified with Hera (Juno) who created the Peacock from Argus whose hundred eyes (seen on the tail feathers of the Peacock) symbolize the vault of heaven and the “eyes” of the stars.
The peacock is associated with the Hindu deity that represents benevolence, patience, kindness, compassion, and luck. It is also the national bird of India.
In Babylonia and Persia the Peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty.
In Japan, the peacock is associated with an emblem of love, compassionate watchfulness, good will, nurturing, and kind-heartedness.