Jonah and the Whale: Rebirth Motif

Jonah and the Whale: Rebirth Motif

John B. Flannagan

During the interwar years, John B. Flannagan was a leading American proponent of the method of direct carving—working directly on the material with one's own hands, instead of having the sculpture reproduced from a model using mechanical aids or assistants. He also believed that, within every rock, there was an image waiting to be freed by the sculptor. It took Flannagan two years to discover the subject matter for Jonah and the Whale in a piece of bluestone he found in the fields around Woodstock, New York. The work depicts the biblical prophet Jonah imprisoned in the belly a whale, his punishment for disobeying God. (He was released after repenting.) In the color, shape, and texture of the stone, Flannagan found the basic form of his whale, adding economical incisions to articulate the creature's mouth, eyes, and fins. Jonah's fetal position and the biblical promise of redemption evoke the theme of rebirth—a persistent theme in Flannagan's art and a metaphor for his creative process.


See this object at Brooklyn Museum Collections Online
related objects
The Wilbour Plaque
Standing Woman
Bust of Marsden Hartley
Bust of Marsden Hartley
The Wilbour Plaque


This American relief is made with sedimentary rock
Standing Woman
Gaston Lachaise

This American statue is associated with forming
Bust of Marsden Hartley
Jacques Lipchitz

This American sculpture is made with wood and is associated with forming
Marble Relief of Pasuccia on Stand
Margaret Foley

This relief is made with rock and is associated with forming
Seated Statuette of Sekhemka
Fragmentary Statue of a Figure with Kyphosis
Figure (Bioma or Agiba)
Figure (Bioma or Agiba)
Seated Statuette of Sekhemka


This relief is made with sedimentary rock
Fragmentary Statue of a Figure with Kyphosis


This statue is made with wood and is associated with forming
Figure (Bioma or Agiba)
Era

This relief is made with wood
Angel
William Edmondson

This American sculpture is made with sedimentary rock
Panel of Tiles
Diana of the Tower
Large Ushabti of Taharqa
Large Ushabti of Taharqa
Panel of Tiles


This work is made with wood and depicts prophets
Diana of the Tower
Augustus Saint-Gaudens

This American sculpture is associated with forming
Large Ushabti of Taharqa


This statue is made with rock
Winged Dragon Chimera
Unknown American

This American work is made with sedimentary rock
The Brooklyn Black Head
Figure Emerging from a Waterlily
The Brooklyn Black Head


This sculpture is made with rock and is associated with forming
Figure Emerging from a Waterlily
Maya

This statue is associated with forming
related object clusters
BacchanteThe Lost Pleiad
2 American statues that are made with rock
Ushabti of the Lady of the House YuiRhythm Pounder (Siibele)
2 statues that are made with sedimentary rock
WinterKachina Doll (Kjaklo)Virgin of the Immaculate Conception
3 American statues that are made with wood
Replica of the Winged Figure from the Robert Gould Shaw MemorialView of Lower Manhattan
2 American reliefs
Mrs. Charles DodgeBallerina
2 American sculptures that are made with wood