a (sculpture), b (base)

Jonah and the Whale, 1937

Flannagan's bronze sculpture represents the Old Testament parable of the prophet Jonah, who, having disobeyed God, was cast overboard by his fellow fishermen during a violent storm at sea, swallowed by a whale (fish), and disgorged unharmed three days later after praying for redemption. For Flannagan, the theme of Jonah and the whale embodied more than merely a didactic religious allegory, but a culmination of a lifelong exploration of the universal mysteries of life, death, and rebirth, a motif common among his mature works. Here, in an unconventional and highly personal interpretation, he depicts Jonah within the belly of the whale, enclosed as if in a womb, awaiting rebirth to the world of the living.

Details
Title
Jonah and the Whale
Artist Life
1895 - 1942
Role
Artist
Accession Number
54.20a,b
Curator Approved

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a (sculpture), b (base)