On Jan. 31, the McClung Museum brought in several new pieces, which range in age, borrowed from other museums. The collection includes pieces such as busts and stained glass works from the 13th to 15th centuries, as well as a board game from 1968.
All the pieces come together to showcase “Visions of the End,” a temporary exhibit to show different depictions of the end of the world.
Some of the artwork is inspired by the Bible and the book of Revelations and others, particularly a record from 1945 called “Atomic Power” by country-western artist Fred Kirby, spoke more on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII and how the two events compare.
I personally found this exhibit to be extremely fascinating. It allowed a new perspective on the apocalypse and opened my eyes to how it can be viewed through different means. I feel like the biggest popular exposure of the apocalypse is through movies and television, as well as the uproar over the Mayan calendar’s ending.
I think that displaying this exhibit on campus could help people have a greater understanding of certain beliefs. During the time that many of these artifacts were first created, the majority of people lived off of their religion and what particular scriptures said.
So, observing the culmination of all of these beliefs in one place was just an amazing experience overall. “Visions of the End” allows students and the public to learn more about something that isn’t portrayed as accurately, or in a way one would expect, in today’s society and through different media sources.
Another reason why I find this exhibit fascinating, is because I don’t identify with a religion. I think that the pieces tell a story, and that everyone should observe the exhibit regardless of their beliefs. To me, exploring the exhibit felt like I was walking through history. One can view the exhibit that way, without the religious connotations as well, by observing what some of the pieces were created with due to the resources and art styles of a particular era.
My favorite parts of the exhibit were the stained glass pieces. I have always been drawn to stained glass, and seeing it depicting images of the dead rising or of people in a post-apocalyptic world was incredible.
Often, stained glass is used to display images of Jesus, other religious figures or even just some floral scenes. Observing these different depictions and learning about what the scenes were portraying was unique in my opinion, because the images are not something that one often sees on stained glass.
In specific, my favorite of the stained glass pieces would have to be “The Dead Rising from their Tombs, from a Rose Window.” This piece was made in Braine, France in the 13th century, and the museum believes it was made at the Abbey of Saint-Yves.
At first glance, the image appears to be a man who is wrapped in cloth with a giant stick. But, if you research the piece or happen to know about burial rituals in the time period, you would know that the man is dressed in a bright red burial shroud, and the “stick” is actually part of a coffin that he is taking with him to remove himself from a grave.
Essentially, he is trying to rise from the dead to join others in the afterlife. I love this piece, just because of the bright colors as well as the fact that it isn’t what you would think of in comparison to the apocalypse. But, it is in relation to the last book of the Bible when judgement day rolls around. I just thought that it was pretty, and the story behind it was fascinating.
Overall, this exhibit has made it into my top five that the McClung Museum has had, and I really recommend it for those who are interested in the apocalypse, portrayals of the end of the world or who want more insight into a different era of art and objects.
“Visions of the End” runs through May 10.