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Observations placeholder

Spencer, Stanley - Symbolism 04 - Scarecrow Cookham 1934



Type of Spiritual Experience


Although this is simply an hypothesis, I feel that Stanley tried to do two things with his painting. 

In the first place he tried to represent the enormity of what spiritual experience can mean - and he did this by the use of Light and the size of his paintings. 

But I also think he was trying to compile a complete set of the symbols in mystic thinking.  By incorporating each symbol into a picture he was 'keeping the baton going' passing on this knowledge in a form that those who know would know and well ............

But this latter task is an enormous job.  Even those who wrote books like Lewis Carroll found it something of a challenge.  There are literally thousands of symbols and of course painting them does not help anyone understand the meaning - incidentally this is not a criticism just an observation. 

But I think his aim was to keep all the symbols in the subconscious of people, to reinforce their existence until - well until we were able via the computer and the Internet - to make them accessible!

Circus and fairgrounds do the same thing as does pantomine, he was lucky to be born in a culture where there was so much reinforcement around him


The Art and Vision of Stanley Spencer - Kenneth Pople

Stanley's several Crucifixions and the paintings he derived from them (The Scarecrow is an example) show Stanley in the depths of a periodic frustration at being unable to suppress an intrusive 'disturber of the peace' (look for the disturber biographically.)

A description of the experience

The source of the experience

Spencer, Stanley

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Contemplation and detachment