To All Churches: a Symbolical Design

George Frederic Watts RA (1817-1904)


Oil on canvas

Source: the 1882 Magazine of Art.

“I doubt, however, if a picture which needs so much of verbal assistance for its right interpretation is ever worth painting. Much the same objection attaches to the "To All Churches: a Symbolical Design, 1875," of which we give an illustration. It represents the Supreme Being in a symbolic form, neither male nor female, gathering together his children, the Churches (all forms of belief), as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing. It is a spectacle designed to show that all the disputes of all the creeds are but as the quarrels of children in the sight of God, and so to shame mankind into tolerance. A sermon, a satire, and a poem in one, it is lofty alike in motive and idea” (182).

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