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The various forms of art existing borrow from stories told by our ancestors. Art is inspired by the stories we hear, the books we read, and our life experiences. Of stories of inspiration, the parable of the prodigal son and the myth of Icarus, play a big role in influencing this inspiration. Poems, pieces of art, music and the general life have picked lessons of inspiration from the two stories. The story of the prodigal son has inspired songs and poems about, coming home, planning, forgiveness, and spending wealth wisely. The myth of Icarus has inspired poets and songwriters to talk about music and poems that cover topics such as overconfidence, regret, preparedness, and desire for freedom. Since art has direct influence in life, inspiration got from the parable of the prodigal son and the myth of Icarus has a direct influence in the way of life of the people.
The parable of the prodigal son tells the story of how the last born of a rich man took his share of the wealth, traveled far lands, enjoyed himself, and squandered the wealth. He then journeys back home, a poor man, feeding with the pigs and sleeping in the pig sty. His return home is welcomed by his father to the disgust of his brother. The myth of Icarus tells the tale of a father and a son who build themselves wings. The father, Daedalus, wanted to build the wings so that his son and he could fly away to freedom. They gathered feathers over the years and fixed the wings using wax. Amid the excitement of flight, Icarus flew to close to the sun. The heat from the sun melted the wax, Icarus lost the power of flight and fell to his death. The stories summarized above are sources of inspiration in various art forms such as music, poetry, and everyday life situations.
The inspirations got from the parable of the prodigal son include themes such as forgiveness, planning, coming home, parenting, and spending one’s wealth wisely. The parable has been used biblically to inspire the good characters in Christian followers such as obeying and one’s parents, the wages of greed, the character of forgiveness, and love. Some musicians pick their stage names and base their music on this parable such as Calvin Curtis. The myth of Icarus covers themes such as the desire for freedom, overconfidence, regret, being prepared, and taking risks. This myth has inspired artwork, poems, music, and the way of life of people across many centuries.
A picture is worth a thousand words; a painting is probably worth more. There exist paintings in the world that are inspired by both the parable of the prodigal son and the myth of Icarus. The painting ‘The return of the prodigal son by Rembrandt Van Rijn, c. 1668’ is an example of artwork inspired by the parable of the prodigal son (Sullivan). Here, the painting is said to inspire family reconciliation, unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness. Other paintings include ‘Return of the prodigal son’ by Pompeo Batoni in 1773, James Tissot and an engraving by Hans Sebald Benam in 1538. There are many Icarus inspired artworks. These include ‘Daedalus and Icarus’ by Charles Le Brun, ‘Daedalus and Icarus, 1779’ by Charles Paul London, ‘Lament for Icarus’ by Herbert James Draper and ‘’Fall of Icarus’ by Granger (Henessy).
The parable of the prodigal son has inspired musicians such as Calvin Curtis who goes by the stage name Prodigal Son. The choice of name is due to his Christian upbringing that calls him back to God (Observer). The parable has also inspired an oratorio by Arthur Sullivan. He picks a text from the Gospel of Luke. Other songs inspired by the parable include ‘Come Home’ by Luminate, ‘Prodigal’ by Sidewalk Prophets, and ‘The prodigal son suite’ by Keith Green. The myth of Icarus has inspired a lot of music and musicians too. Some of the music includes ‘Flight of Icarus’ by the Iron Maiden. Lyrics include words like, “now his wings turn to ashes to ashes his grave.” That shows the burning of the wings by heated wax due to flying too close to the sun (Wiederhorn). Some other songs include Bastille’s Bad Blood “Icarus if flying too close to the sun,” ‘Prophecy’ by Ocean Voyager where they sing “The Icarus fate, a prophecy,” and Icarus Wind by Thea Gilmore saying “It’s the Icarus wind telling me those lies.”
There are numerous poems inspired by the prodigal son. A known example is ‘The prodigal son’ by Ramachandran with words like “His hunt for a job in vain made him a servant to feed swine” in stanza four (Ramachandran). Other poems include ‘The prodigal son’s brother’ by Steve Kowit where he says “Who’d been steadfast as small change all his life forgave the one who bounced back like a bad check.” ‘The prodigal son’ by Rudyard Kipling quoting “Here come I to my own again, fed, forgiven and known again.” The myth of Icarus has inspired poetry too. Some of those include Mel Harcum’s ‘Icarus’ quoting “I think Icarus forgot Was the sun never his to touch,” Irina Asleigh’s ‘The Fall of Icarus’ where she writes “You were the sun and I was Icarus, I was meant to fall for you” (Poetry).
The parable of the prodigal son has been used to teach Christian youth on the love that parents have for them, reconciliation with loved ones, being hopeful and forgiveness. The teachings got from the Gospel of Luke aid to foster moral character in the lives of Christian youth. The myth of Icarus teaches about life in the perspectives on being egoistic and proud. The desire for freedom and taking risks. The many lessons learnt from these stories aid to instill life skills, prepare one for new experiences, and help one be a better person.
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