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VISION OF A GREAT GULF ON PLANET HELL

1980 Howard Finster Born: Valley Head, Alabama 1916 Died: Rome, Georgia 2001 enamel on plywood with painted frame 35 3/8 x 18 5/8 in. (90 x 47.2 cm) panel Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. 1988.74.5 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 23A


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VISION OF A GREAT GULF ON PLANET HELL

Luce Center Quote

“To leave out [the] teaching of hell from the Bible is like taking down red lights in a congested street in your city. The more you hide hell from the world the more [may] go there.” Howard Finster, inscription on back of painting.

Luce Center Label

Howard Finster covered his paintings with written descriptions and Bible quotes to help people understand their meanings. He made VISION OF A GREAT GULF to teach people about hell, because “if a man believed in Hell he would try to avoid going there.” The painting includes terrifying warnings about the underworld, suggesting that if we ignore the artist’s messages, we might join the people falling helplessly into the chasm of monsters. Finster filled every available space with scribbled text and bright colors to create an overwhelming image of the confusion of hell.

Keywords

Allegory - religion - hell

Fantasy - monster

Figure(s) in exterior - religious

painting

folk art

paint - enamel

wood - plywood

About Howard Finster

Born: Valley Head, Alabama 1916 Died: Rome, Georgia 2001

More works in the collection by
Howard Finster