|Portrait of Edward Hicks by his cousin Thomas Hicks|
Edward Hicks was born on 4 April 1780 in Attleboro, Pennsylvania. His childhood was unsettled, his mother died in his infancy; he and siblings were boarded out by his father, then unable to support them. From age 3 Edward lived with a Quaker family. At 13 was apprenticed to a local coach-making firm. He showed a flair for ornamental painting: heraldic devices and decorative lettering. He fell into a pattern of drinking and carousing that spun out of control. Then he rediscovered religion. Around 1800 he began to attend meetings of the Religious Society of Friends - Quakers.Information, edited and extracted from:
ART REVIEW: Finding Endless Conflict Hidden in a Peaceable Kingdom
By HOLLAND COTTER.
Published: June 16, 2000.
Hicks was devout, yet impractical. In 1811 he became an unsalaried Quaker minister and opened a carriage-and-sign painting shop. Because the ministry required frequent travel from home (he was married with children by this time), the business had to fend for itself.
The painting Hicks specialized in was censured by the Quakers. His expertly decorated signs and objects were viewed as vain, luxurious, un-Friendly things. He tried to restrict himself to a no-frills style, then sold the business to become a farmer, with calamitous economic results. His problems were compounded by his high-strung, fractious personality, given to bursts of fury and fits of sobbing. He was extremely candid in his opinions, particularly on matters related to the religious community, which didn't always endear him to others. A bitter doctrinal and psychic war within the community shaped Hicks's art. After his farming misadventure, he resumed his career as an artisan but also began to do easel paintings on the Peaceable Kingdom theme. Initially this could have been a way to give what he called his "excessive fondness for painting" an acceptable moral dimension. His crude earliest known version of the subject was adapted from a Bible print illustrating a passage from Isaiah about a millennial vision in which natural enemies are reconciled: "The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
|One version, of many, of The Peaceable Kingdom|
Hicks continued doing other work, but the "Kingdoms" were special to him, he painted them repeatedly and obsessively, for himself, or as gifts. They become more complex in style, combining the vivacity of popular art with surprising academic finesse, they also grew more pointed in content. The first series, starting in the early 1820's, incorporated a secondary background vignette of the 17th-century Quaker William Penn arranging a treaty of peace with American Indians. After a great internal divide within the Quaker community in 1827, the images became more volatile, even propagandistic. Penn's treaty was replaced by a ghostly troop of historic Quaker elders. In the next decade, when the paintings became both deeply expressive and wildly uneven in quality, the foreground changed. Additional children and animals were included. The carnivorous beasts, lions, leopards, wolves, grow in size. Where once they had cast their eyes docilely to the ground, they stared out, alert, aggressive, challenging, appearing rabidly agitated.
Hicks meant the animals to typify human traits in line with his view of contemporary Quaker politics: the lion symbolized power gained through wealth, the leopard a suave, threatening worldliness. Occasionally animals are in conflict. But even when they aren't, the assemblies have a jumbled, restive feeling. The ground beneath them is eroding; a fissure in the earth separates them from Penn's treaty behind.
Around 1840, the mood shifted again. Hicks saw that the ideological battle he had anguished over would remain unresolved. The animals start to look aged and weary. In one painting, the lion's face bears a startling resemblance to that of Hicks in a portrait by his nephew, Thomas, where he poses with an unfinished kingdom on his easel.
He produced "Peaceable" images to the end of his life, was preparing one for his daughter when he died. But he had also turned to other subjects.
Versions via video - the first one needs to have audio at highest level.
Wikipedia page for Edward Hicks is HERE.
|Born 4 April 1780, Near Langhorne PA. chart set for 12 noon, time of birth unknown.|
We're told (above) that his personality was high-strung, fractious, impractical, candid and outspoken. He obviously had an innate artistic talent, unpolished but undeniable.
Where does any of that shine through his natal chart?
Moon's exact position remains unknown without a time of birth, but would have been somewhere in Aries, as well as natal Sun. With personal planets Mercury, Venus and Mars in adjacent sign Taurus it seems likely that there'd be some internal wrangling between - the astrological Ram and Bull. Stubborn attributes of Taurus and impetuous, impatient occasionally aggressive traits of Aries tend to be tricky blends in any personality, not exactly an inner Peaceable Kingdom! Add Pluto in independent determined Aquarius in square to his natal communications planet, Mercury in Taurus, and you could have a reflection of his candid outspoken, opinions.
Saturn harmoniously trines his Sun, possibly Moon too, from Sagittarius, bringing in an extra element of rigidity to his nature.
Jupiter (expansion, excess, religion, philosophy) lay in scratchy 150 degree (quincunx) aspect to his natal Venus, planet of the arts. That could be seen as a link to his obvious need to keep painting the same subject again and again, possibly as a means to to easing an underlying psychological discomfort within himself.