Paint Freedom – In search of maximum expression

Painting the feeling and the state of freedom is one of the most important themes that can be found in the world of painting. Freedom is a very broad topic that connects with all people. In addition, there are many types of freedom: social, political, religious, of expression, sexual, etc.
Looking for some paintings to see how the idea of freedom has been represented in the history of painting, I have come across many old paintings that speak of specific historical moments. Freedom has had to be conquered for centuries.

One way to represent this idea of freedom is to paint it as a figure, often a woman. The two most famous symbolic representations with a figure representing “Liberty” are the Delacroix painting (with a woman and the flag) and the Statue of Liberty (a woman with a torch).

On the other hand, heroic actions, historical events and other scenes with human expressions are also ways of painting freedom.

In this post I present some ideas related to the idea of freedom, allegories and ways of representing the idea of freedom.

1- PAINTING THE FREEDOM OF SOCIETY

Society and people have the right to be free, to have a social well-being and to be able to decide for themselves their life and their future.

Painting titled Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix

La libertad guiando al pueblo de Eugene Delacroix

This painting remains, in my opinion, the best artistic representation of the concept of Freedom. This is a key historical moment, the French Revolution. In the painting itself you can understand what is happening and you can experience the feeling of being free. It is a highly studied, analyzed painting and we can find thousands of explanations about it, but without a doubt, everyone recognizes the female figure as the key to the work, she represents the idea of freedom.

Thus, freedom has a concrete form thanks to this Delacroix painting. In this painting freedom exists, it has strength, it is alive and it comes towards us. A great and wonderful work. He even gives us advice for life: to achieve freedom you have to fight.

To claim this right there is the right to manifest.

2- INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM

Each person has the right to choose. Within society and with respect for other people, individual freedom is one of the greatest achievements of modern society.

Painting titled The Living Statue, (The Statue of Liberty in New York), painting by Jim Warren.

La libertad de Nueva York

I have come across this nice painting by Jim Warren, titled “Living Statue”. It is one of the great symbols of freedom, represented by a single figure, in this case, a woman with a torch that lights up the world. But in this painting half of her face is more human.

Painter’s website

After these two great icons, I have found some other works that I did not know and that deal with the subject of freedom.

3- PHYSICAL FREEDOM

Prisoners, slaves and people with physical disabilities have lost the freedom to move and move where they want. Physical freedom is a type of essential freedom.

Painting titled Freedom, by Walter Crane, Pre-Raphaelite painting.

This is a simple painting: the woman with the wings (an angel) stands before a prisoner who is about to be released. It is as if she were going to take him in her arms and carry the man flying with those wings. Salvation from slavery or imprisonment.

Freedom, by Walter Crane
Freedom, by Walter Crane

Dancing, traveling, and stunts can be another example of physical freedom. But here Picasso shows us a very simple one, running on the beach.

Two Women Running on the Beach, by Picasso (1922)
Two Women Running on the Beach, by Picasso (1922)

We can create many works where people express their freedom by doing something they enjoy. Here, freedom and happiness together are mainly expressed.

Freedom is mixed with many more vital aspects, with what is lived, and becomes part of the pictorial works expressing feelings, with forms, narratives and styles of all kinds.

4- FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Human beings have the right to think for themselves and to express their ideas, always with respect and truth, without harming other people or imposing their ideas. freedom of the press is the freedom to print those ideas and disseminate them.

Freedom of the Press, drawing by Daumier for the Illustration of “L’Association Mensuelle”, 1834.

This is a good example dedicated to freedom of expression. A drawing by Daumier that represents a strong man on a written text where he says “Freedom of the press”. The man is in a defensive position with his fists clenched and ready to defend this right. In this drawing, freedom is closely related to physical strength, but also mental. It looks like a human being wants to defend his freedom of expression.

Freedom of the Press, drawing by Daumier

Another example of freedom of expression is this painting titled Freedom, created by Faye Hall (24 ″ x 30 ″)

Freedom by Faye Hall
Painting called Freedom by Faye Hall

An expressive face that screams freedom, demands it with great force.
Artist Website: http://fayehall.com/

5 – IDEOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Being able to live as you wish conforms to your own ideas. In the world there is a huge variety of ways of life that depend on an entire ideological and cultural legacy.

 Painting by Martín Perez Irusta.
One world, not two. Painting by Martín Perez Irusta.

Photo from Artelista.com. Painting in which we can see two women free diving in the upper part of the painting and, on the other hand, a girl from the Arab world surrounded by other women with the typical coarse dresses that completely cover them, in the lower part of the painting. Of course, freedom is closely related to human rights and dignity.

When society represses citizens and there is no variety of ideologies, there is no freedom.

6- POLITICAL FREEDOM

The Mexican Muralists

There are many groups of artists who have come together with the intention of claiming their political freedoms. One of the most powerful groups pictorially was the group of Mexican muralists, formed by Diego Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros.

Two examples of paintings that claim political rights, democracy and social freedom.

Land and Freedom, by Diego Rivera

Land and Freedom, by Diego Rivera
Land and Freedom, by Diego Rivera

The new democracy, 1945, David Alfaro Siqueiros

The new democracy, 1945, David Alfaro Siqueiros
Painting The new democracy, 1945, David Alfaro Siqueiros

In this mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros that is in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, the freedom of the people, democracy, is claimed. Image source in Wikipedia


However, after searching many paintings where the idea of freedom is expressed, I have realized that there are not so many paintings where this issue is treated in isolation. And on the other hand, it is part of infinite paintings. The artist must have the intention of symbolizing this abstract idea with an image.

I think it is not a simple subject but a very good pictorial subject. Painting the concept of freedom by itself is a very expressive subject that can still be developed in many more ways.

In addition, each person expresses their own idea of freedom in a different way, and that is the most beautiful thing about trying to express it.

The concept of freedom is not even necessarily linked to other concepts, since freedom is an idea that is held in the mind and can also be independent from the outside, from society, from your health, from others … and at the same time is involved in all vital aspects. That is, freedom is also a mental idea, your thoughts are the first to limit or liberate you. One way of expressing mental freedom is the paintings of the Buddhas, since Siddharta Gautama’s enlightenment was a mental liberation.

So, I end this topic with one of the few paintings where I have tried to represent freedom:

Painting called “I AM FREE”, BY CRISTINA ALEJOS. GOUACHE ON CARDBOARD, FROM THE YEAR 2009.

I am free, the hanging hammock
I am free, the hanging hammock

Thanks for following the blog. I hope it inspires you to paint freedom.

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