Title Creatorsort icon Date Era City Country Emotional Sum (Sense of Life or emotional World View) Theme
Riace Bronze A Myron?: c.460 BCE 500 BCE - 1 CE Greece

Man is strong and indomitable

Intelligence, Pride, Strength = Man

Repose Painter: John White Alexander 1895 1900s New York United States

Life is extravagant and lush and sensual.

Feminine Sensuality is a main theme, though one can argue that a related (equal theme or sub-theme) is: The Lushness of the Material World. The dramatic draped womanly figure pressing against a divan, whose figure is clearly oulined, shares the visual dominance of the painting along with the magnificent sweeps of her dress and the giant pillows, the massive backrest, and even the strong elements of the floor material and the golden back wall. All together a remarkable composition.

The Samovar Painter: Emil Carlsen 1920c. 1900s

The world is full of textural richness worth looking at.

The richness of light and the objects it caresses.  This is a paean to the richness of visual experience, but with the simplest of materials -- just a light source and two kinds of simple unadorned objects.

Comedia Painter: Thomas Wilmer Dewing 1892-4c 1800s Philadelphia United States

Life is sumptuous and beautiful and alive.

Feminine vivacity and gaiety

Old Man with a Young Boy Painter: Domenico Ghirlandaio 1490 1400s Florence Italy

Human companionship or family closeness is real.

Quiet familial love. (A grandfather (perhaps) gazing upon a grandson, and vice versa, in a clear moment of happy communion.)

Her Face to the Wind Painter: William Hosner 2006 2000s Traverse City, Michigan United States

One gets the feeling that the young woman is able to stand strong in the world, with panache and beauty all at once.

Facing life in a fresh, strong, vivacious way.

La Gomena (The Boat Tow-er) Painter: Ettore Tito 1909 1900s Rome Italy

There is great effort in life, and a woman can be the master of it. This painting is a curious combination of romantic heroism and 19th century genre naturalism. It has a visual dynamism and dramatic content that is strongly romantic, yet the subject is the prosaic task of pulling a boat out of the water.

The will and the power of a woman. Implacable determination.

Cyrano de Bergerac Playwright: Edmond Rostand 1897 1900s France

Life can be exciting. Life can be grand, literally. There is also some great sadness about consummated love, since it is portrayed as unreachable.

The importance of independence and independent thought. Compromise is deadly to one's soul. Sub-themes: a) Doubt of one's goodness because of an incidental fact (physical feature) is terribly damaging and tragic. b) Helping someone by faking reality is damaging and can come to no good.

Othello: the Moor of Venice Playwright: William Shakespeare 1603 1600s Stratford-on-Avon United Kingdom

Malevolence and horrible tragedy is unrelieved.  Evil is potent.

A great man can be gullible and controlled by an evil character.  Or, an evil character can have potency in the world, because of the weakness of a good man.

3 Idiots Screenwriter: Chopra Vidhu Vinod 2009 1991-2010 India

Life can be fun and productive and exciting. As is true in some other Bollywood features, this story and the ideas behind it about pursuing the good life, has an honesty and clarity and benevolence that is not part of the U.S. movie scene.

Be what you want to be; follow your passion in life

Laocoon (Laocoön and His Sons) Sculptor: Agesander 1st century BCE to 1st century CE 500 BCE - 1 CE Rome Italy

Life is a desperate, agonizing struggle.

The heroic but agonizing defeat of Men. This sculpture certainly represents at the same time the heroic nature of men but cast into an impossible situation that can only be tragic.

David Sculptor: Michelangelo Buonarotti 1504 1500s Florence Italy

Man is a strong, indomitable creature who has the intelligence to overcome terrible odds.

[requires assumption of some context of this work -- not a "cold" introduction to it]: A man able to face a daunting task, with tremulous calm and determination. This is the depiction of the David/Goliath story of the Bible in which David takes on the much more formidable Goliath and wins.

Pieta Sculptor: Michelangelo Buonarotti 1500 1500s Rome Italy

Life is acceptance of pain. Resignation in the face of tragedy.

Resignation and sorrow for a great personal loss.

Three Graces Sculptor: Antonio Canova 1814 1800s Italy

The female human form is beautiful, graceful, ideal.

Quiet repose and sisterly love. The piece exudes a quiet elegance and peacefulness amidst the complex three-dimensional composition. The inclusion of "sisterly love" is less certain, except that taking into account the mythological background of the piece. It can be argued that one should not take that into account, so perhaps that should not formally be included in the theme.

Rape of Polyxena, The Sculptor: Pio Fedi 1866 1800s Florence Italy

Strength and complex beauty are central. Vitality, passion and action are hallmarks of this work.

Life is complex strife, entwined with strong god-like characters.

Chariot of Apollo Sculptor: Jean Baptiste (1630-1700) Tuby 1668-1670 1600s Versailles France

The world has thrilling powerful men of action.  There are no limits to what can be achieved.

Elegant, physical power.  The fantasy ability to fly through water and air with grace and ease.

Niobe Sculptor: unknown c. 200 BC Rome Italy

Human action is beautiful.

Life is movement.

Landfall Shute, Nevil: 1940 1900 - 1950 United Kingdom

Heroes and Heroines are self-made, by anyone at any level of intelligence who seriously pursues what is important in their lives.

Truth will triumph -- with perseverance.

Wait for Your Soldier Singing Group: Soviet Army Chorus and Band unknown mid-20th century 1900s Russia

Happiness triumphs.

The power of joy to motivate action.

Brass Bowl, The Vance, Louis Joseph: 1907 1900 - 1950 United States

The world is a delightful place. Good things happen to the deserving.

Life as a gay, lighthearted adventure.

Hyacinths to feed thy soul White, James Terry: 1911c 1900s United States

Hopeful. Even in poverty one can have beauty.

Beauty is a form of sustenance

Design for Living Writer: Noel Coward 1932 1900s United Kingdom

Life can be giddy and bright. Facing up to one's anti-conventional values is important. Conventional morality must be questioned if it causes suffering and conflict.

You should follow your deepest values and accept them no matter how unconventional the outcome.

A rare combination of the wittiest, lightest of Noel Coward's style, along with deeper themes of romantic love, proper morality and how should one live.