Flight into Egypt.
 Swanson, John August

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Title:Flight into Egypt

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

Serigraph 38 ½” x 12⅛”

Artist’s Notes: The lonely flight of the Holy Family is depicted visually by the exact layering of transparent colors and drawings, creating a myriad of fine details and rich colors. FLIGHT INTO EGYPT, a vertical-panorama, engages the viewer with the Holy Family's escape to Egypt under a massive star filled sky and within a complex landscape, where many events are occurring and are realized in great detail.

I envision the biblical story of the Holy Family in reference to current events, photos, and stories of people who must leave their homes. Whether fleeing wars or natural disasters, they are all refugees in makeshift towns who have to move to safer places in order to survive. I wanted to capture the urgent plight of a poor family protecting their newborn child from imminent danger, while fleeing to an unknown country.

God is protecting this Holy Family, but there are so many other holy families, that are left unprotected. I envisioned angels rushing to protect and guide Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. We need to be those angels, and support groups that help refugees, and act with compassion and strength.

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:Matthew 2:13-23
Lectionary links:AXmas01
General Subject:Flight into Egypt
Culture: Hispanic and/or Latino

Permalink: https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56547
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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. Flight into Egypt, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56547 [retrieved April 17, 2024]. Original source: Estate of John August Swanson, https://www.johnaugustswanson.com/.
Record Number:56547 Last Updated: 2022-06-27 16:05:04 Record Created: 2018-03-30 15:36:45
Institution:Vanderbilt University Collection: Art in the Christian Tradition