We all know that anger might not be a kind emotion, but it is part of living. The energy of anger oscillating from composure to blindness has been depicted in the arts, creating a visual experience of intense emotional responses. The following artworks portray passionate anger by different artists, arousing stimulating feelings from contempt to respect that profoundly helps us understand the exaggerated to righteous indignation.
- Jesus ready to strike with clenched fist merchants, not honoring the place of worship and turning it to a place of profit. Christ’s anger was real, divinely justified, and human.
- Anger can be morally right; the inner flame should not be restricted but should be shared intimately at a spiritual level to a higher self.
- The story of Timoclea of Thebes, whose anger saved her after the captain of the Thracian army, raped her. The story goes that Timoclea tamed her inner rage with composure and calm when her rapist asked for any hidden money. She told him that there was money in her well. When the Thracian captain stooped to look into the well, she pushed him to his grave.
A nude woman comes out of the well, angry, holding a whip in her hand. She represents a symbolic figure of Truth. It appears that she is about to strike when the Truth is not being tolerated; anger becomes her weapon of choice. Depiction of the aphorism of philosopher Democritus: “Of a truth, we know nothing, for truth is in a well.”
The beheading of Holofernes, an Assyrian general by Judith is another example of female rage. The story goes that Holofernes was about to destroy Judith’s home, the city of Behulia. Judith’s anger is a symbol of an underdog being able to overpower a tyrant.
Pipilotti Rist, a Swiss visual artist, produced an original piece “Ever is over all”, in 1997, showcasing women liberation from the norms of “good behavior” imposed by society and her carefree attitude towards authority. She happily smashes the windows of each parked car she passes. A female officer passes by and salutes her vandalism. A piece that demonstrates self-fulfilling anger based on courage.
Anger is not always a destructive force, at times is the catalyst for change and a signal of resolution.
Featured image: Beyonce – Hold up video