David and Goliath.
 Swanson, John August

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Title:David and Goliath

To purchase prints, cards, and posters of John August Swanson's works, visit http://www.johnaugustswanson.com

Serigraph 21” by 31”

Reflections on DAVID AND GOLIATH by the Artist from his website: David goes forward alone, with 6 stones in his shepherd bag and a sling shot. What a beautiful story for us. The army is powerless, afraid, and unable to move for fear of the strong Goliath. David moves forward, barefoot, without fear. He faces the supreme death machine, the technological cutting edge of the time, in the armor and weaponry of conquest. He has politely refused to wear the armor of King Saul, finding it too uncomfortable, heavy, and useless for the battle ahead. He speaks to this powerful giant and knocks him down with his slingshot. I believe this story continues today in the lives of people who speak out and stand against those who would conquer. They encourage and empower us with their courage. They are humans who see indignities, oppression, war and suffering and refuse to accept the inevitability of its victory over us. David has the spirit of hope. He is looked upon as foolish. He is stepping out of other people's limiting framework of what a shepherd can do. When others begin to be like David, and challenge power, they are considered foolish, ineffective, and good for nothing. When we see everyday, ordinary people following their ideals we might reflect on the passage from 1st Corinthians: "God chooses the foolish so as to confound the wise, God chooses the weak so as to confound the mighty." David has continued to have the audacity to speak to Goliath. David, the shepherd boy, spoke through the voice of Cesar Chavez, saying, "Si se puede!" (Yes we can!). David, the shepherd boy, spoke through the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. singing, "We shall overcome!" David, the shepherd boy, spoke through the voice of Gandhi calling us to "be the change you want to see in the world". David continues to confront Goliath through the lives of those, known and unknown to us, who transcend limitations and offer extraordinary service to the world in which we live. They are the people who are the peacemakers and the defenders of human rights, empowering others to work for justice. They face great obstacles and challenges of violence as they work for change. We are inspired by their heroic lives as they overcome fear and weakness. And we are reminded that giants are often more vulnerable and shepherds more powerful than they may appear.

JOHN AUGUST SWANSON makes his home in Los Angeles, California, where he was born in 1938. He paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent printmaker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings.

His art reflects the strong heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. John Swanson’s narrative is direct and easily understood. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. These include Bible stories and social celebrations such as attending the circus, the concert, and the opera. He also tells of everyday existence, of city and country walks, of visits to the library, the train station or the schoolroom. All his parables optimistically embrace life and one’s spiritual transformation.

John Swanson studied with Corita Kent at Immaculate Heart College. His unique style is influenced by the imagery of Islamic and medieval miniatures, Russian iconography, the color of Latin American folk art, and the tradition of Mexican muralists.

His art is in no way "naïve." It is detailed, complex, and elaborate. Unlike many contemporary artists, John Swanson works directly on all phases in producing his original prints. His serigraphs (limited-edition screen prints) have from 40 to 89 colors printed, using transparent and opaque inks creating rich and detailed imagery. For each color printed the artist must draw a stencil on Mylar film. This stencil is transferred to the silk screen for printing the color ink on the serigraph edition. The resulting serigraph is a matrix of richly overlaid colors visually striking and technically masterful.

Mr. Swanson’s art is represented in the permanent collections of many museums, including three museums of the Smithsonian Institution: The National Museum of American History, The National Museum of American Art and The National Air and Space Museum. He is also included in the print collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum, the Tate Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. His painting THE PROCESSION is one of relatively few works by contemporary artists to be selected for the Vatican Museums’ Collection of Modern Religious Art. In 2008, an extensive collection of John August Swanson’s works were purchased by Emory University’s Candler School of Theology to hang on the walls of their new 76,349 square foot building. He was awarded The Dean’s Medal for his art’s transformative effect on the campus. With over 55 works hung, this is the largest open public display of the artwork of John August Swanson. [from the artist's website]

Artist:Swanson, John August
City/Town:Los Angeles
Country:United States

Scripture:Samuel I, 17:57-18:5, 18:10-16
Person as Subject:David, King of Israel (Biblical figure)
Goliath (Biblical figure)
Lectionary links:BProp07
General Subject:Courage
Culture: Hispanic and/or Latino

Permalink: https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56540
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Copyright Source:Estate of John August Swanson, https://www.johnaugustswanson.com/
Copyright Permission:The artist has granted permission for the non-commercial use of this image with attribution. The artist must be contacted for other uses.
Attribution:Swanson, John August. David and Goliath, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56540 [retrieved June 23, 2024]. Original source: Estate of John August Swanson, https://www.johnaugustswanson.com/.
Record Number:56540 Last Updated: 2022-06-27 16:06:13 Record Created: 2018-03-29 11:33:25
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition