VISION OF A GREAT GULF ON PLANET HELL

  • Howard Finster, VISION OF A GREAT GULF ON PLANET HELL, 1980, enamel on plywood with painted frame, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr., 1988.74.5

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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.

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“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.

Title
VISION OF A GREAT GULF ON PLANET HELL
Artist
Date
1980
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
35 3/8 x 18 5/8 in. (90 x 47.2 cm) panel
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.

Mediums
Mediums Description
enamel on plywood with painted frame
Classifications
Keywords
  • Allegory – religion – hell
  • Fantasy – monster
Object Number
1988.74.5
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

1979
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1976
enamel on fiberboard
1988
paint on glass bottle

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