Creatorsort icon Title Emotional Sum (Sense of Life or emotional World View) Theme
Maugham, W. Somerset: Of Human Bondage

Life is a fearful gray spread of actions and in-actions without genuine values. We are all deformed in mind or spirit and should accept convention as demanded by those around us.

Man's life is outside his control. Conventionality is the final ideal.

Miron - Parish: Tzena Tzena Tzena

Joyous celebration

Joyous celebration

Myron?: Riace Bronze A

Man is strong and indomitable

Intelligence, Pride, Strength = Man

Painter: John White Alexander Repose

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.

Painter: Emil Carlsen The Samovar

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.

Painter: Thomas Wilmer Dewing Comedia

Life is sumptuous and beautiful and alive.

Feminine vivacity and gaiety

Painter: Domenico Ghirlandaio Old Man with a Young Boy

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.)

Painter: William Hosner Her Face to the Wind

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.

Painter: Ettore Tito La Gomena (Towing a Boat)

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.

Playwright: Edmond Rostand Cyrano de Bergerac

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.

Playwright: William Shakespeare Othello: the Moor of Venice

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.

Rand, Ayn: Anthem

The book starts out psychologically dark and disorienting because of the protagonist struggling with the radically collectivist world he was born into. But what shows even in the early pages, and grows to the climax is the triumphant struggle of a rare few who break free of the yoke of total mind control and become free to live a life as a conceptual human and rediscover what it means to be an individual. Thrilling and emotionally satisfying (unless the reader is a committed determinist.)

Ego and using one's individual mind is the core of being human.

Rodin, Auguste: Shade, The

Life is a gruesome trial. There is no hope.

The world destroys man. (Some unknown evil force is destroying this young strong man.) Given that the sculpture is titled as a "Shade" and is related to the Group sculpture "Gates of Hell", one can presume the evil is some unnamed condition that can overpower life and cause destruction of the good.

Screenwriter: Chopra Vidhu Vinod 3 Idiots

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

Screenwriter: Noel Coward Brief Encounter

Passionate love. Tragic choices.

High romance is possible. Such love is unlikely to survive. This film manages to embrace two contradictory themes, leading to a major bittersweet outcome.

Sculptor: Agesander Laocoon (Laocoön and His Sons)

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.

Sculptor: Michelangelo Buonarotti David

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.

Sculptor: Michelangelo Buonarotti Pieta

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

Resignation and sorrow for a great personal loss.

Sculptor: Antonio Canova Three Graces

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.

Sculptor: Pio Fedi Rape of Polyxena, The

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.

Sculptor: Jean Baptiste (1630-1700) Tuby Chariot of Apollo

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.

Sculptor: unknown Niobe

Human action is beautiful.

Life is movement.

Shute, Nevil: Landfall

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.

Singing Group: Soviet Army Chorus and Band Wait for Your Soldier

Happiness triumphs.

The power of joy to motivate action.

Vance, Louis Joseph: Brass Bowl, The

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

Life as a gay, lighthearted adventure.