LOOK: John August Swanson (American, 1938–), Peaceable Kingdom, 1994. Serigraph, edition of 250, 30 × 22 1/2 in.
John August Swanson, a Los Angeles–based artist of Mexican and Swedish heritage, says his 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.” In this forty-seven-color serigraph (limited-edition screen print), monkeys, frogs and lizards, mice and rabbits, owls and peacocks, a pig and a turtle accompany the wolves, lambs, leopard, goat, lion, ox, and snake of Isaiah 11, a vision of creation restored and at peace.
O day of peace that dimly shines
Through all our hopes and prayers and dreams
Guide us to justice, truth, and love
Delivered from our selfish schemes
May swords of hate fall from our hands
Our hearts from envy find release
Till by God’s grace our warring world
Shall see Christ’s promised reign of peace
Then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb
Nor shall the fierce devour the small
As beast and cattle calmly graze
A little Child shall lead them home
Then the meek shall learn to love
All creatures find their true accord
The hope of peace shall be fulfilled
For all the earth shall know the Lord
(Related post: “The Peaceable Kingdoms of Edward Hicks”)
For each day of the first week of Advent I am publishing one art-and-song pairing as an invitation for seasonal reflection.