Carrie Ann Baade | Allegory of Bad Government
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Size: 36 x 48 inches (H x W)
The Allegory of Bad Government is inspired by Italian painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s 14th c. moralistic civic mural cycle by the same name. In my reimagined version, the tea party from Alice in Wonderland and combined with the deadly sins (Pride, Greed, Rage, Envy, Misery, and Narcissism) as guests at the table, all eating off of Tyranny’s cape which is at once the tablecloth. Meant as a universal political critique, this is also a commentary on our ever-present internal states of mind where demons may populate.
The paintings in the series Allegory of Good and Bad Government are inspired by Lorenzetti’s 14th century moralistic mural cycle commissioned by the city hall in Sienna. The original fresco paintings served as a constant reminder to leaders to remain just by showing comprehensive cause-and-effect situations of corrupt, tyrannical governing in comparison to those of virtuous governing. In traveling to Italy to investigate these murals, I was surprised to find that these could be interpreted as both external and internal states of consciousness. While we require a government as a people, we also should aspire to states of internal governance to mobilize our human initiative to use our energy and our time creatively. Cruelty, Deceit, Fraud, Fury, Division, and War are featured in the detail Allegory of Bad Government, while the collage above is arranged more like the tea party from Alice in Wonderland.
In the style of the Seven Deadly Sins made over, these characters act out bad behavior traits that plague their meeting but could also be interpreted as internal sabotaging states of mind. Self-loathing has the face of a bat but wears the mask of the martyr from representations of Our Man of Sorrow. This character shows his indulgent internal dialogue of self-pity by playing out a dead mouse talking to a sock puppet.
St. Rage is featured from a prior painting: she can do nothing but attack and scream. Always present at any meeting is sloth, or as I have interpreted him, as a frog with a giant erection in his pants, because he is being aroused by the discord.