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Conscience


Even when there is no law, there is conscience.

Conscience, or "knowing together", is a word coined by Stoic philosophers to reflect the divine presence in the human mind. The idea developed from Oriental teachings of fusing man with God, woman with Goddess.

My painting is based on one of the most remarkable images from the Iconologia, a series of handbooks illustrated by the Italian iconographer Cesare Ripa. Used by journeymen sculptors and engravers throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the book is full of personifications of different aspects of the human spirit: virtues, vices, arts, and sciences. 

Conscience walks a narrow path for us all, here represented as a path bordered with flowers and thorns. The former symbolize the way of an all too easy conscience while the latter represents the difficult route of a peace above all earthly dignities. As Conscience walks, she attentively considers in her mirror that little spark of celestial fire in her breast: human conscience.

Painting of Conscience, personified.
Conscience. 24" x 32". 2016. Collection of the artist. Montreal, Canada.

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Theodore Roosevelt

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