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Spencer, Stanley - Symbolism 01 - Mending Cowls Cookham 1915

Identifier

019380

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Stanley painted a number of pictures – a small selection are shown here – which showed he was both interested and knew his symbolism.  The idea of the circus figured quite prominently in a number of his works, and he also painted in the manner of ‘all the worlds a stage’. 

His paintings have the very feel of a stage set and the size of them also lent belief to the idea that he viewed the world as a stage.  Many of his little figures are puppet like.

Stanley also maintained multiple memoirs, notebooks, daybooks and letters that run into millions of words.  Scattered as single phrases that are clues to both his spiritual understanding and his symbolic thinking.  At times it almost looks as though he were playing a game with those he knew would possibly read them after his death, adding no real context, and being deliberately provocative.

For example  “the most exciting thing I ever came across is myself “ – is a reference t the spiritual pursuit of know thyself.

And “painting with me was the crowning of an already elected king” – uses the symbolism of the king and queen.

 And “I have always looked forward to seeing what I could fish out of myself” – uses the symbol f the fish

And “ I am a treasure island seeker and the island is myself” – uses the symbolism of treasure and island.

There is the added possibility that Stanley used this device as a means of helping him to remember all the symbols.  As one can see from the site there are thousands used in spirituality

A description of the experience

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The source of the experience

Spencer, Stanley

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Key

Activities

Observation contributed by: Rosie Rock-Evans