To see clearly… to look within… eyes as the windows of the soul… fest your eyes, apple of your eye, cry your eyes out. Birds eye view, eyes in the back of your head, give someone the eye, catch someone’s eye… Public eye, Bull’s eye, Private eye…
The list goes on ad finitum. And that doesn’t evens tart with the famous quotes! ( Although I have added a few at the end of the post.) The topic this month is so versatile,and has such a rich history – I barely knew where to start. So Art history and myth it is!
First – a rabbit hole of research: Who actually said: “The eyes are window of the soul.”? The Internet will tell you everything from Shakespeare to the Bible. But I did find this at Idiomorigins.org :
Let’s dive in with the Surrealists first, shall we? There are so many famous eyes that come to… my Mind’s eye! Here are a few!
- The Nazar is the amulet/charm we often refer to as the Evil Eye – but it his meant to ward off that very thing! A nazar (from Arabic نَظَر [ˈnaðˤar], meaning ‘sight’, ‘surveillance’, ‘attention’, and other related concepts) is an eye-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye.
- A typical nazar is made of handmade glass featuring concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, occasionally with a yellow/gold edge. “The bead is made of a mixture of molten glass, iron, copper, water, and salt, ingredients that are thought to shield people from evil.”
- “According to Turkish belief, blue acts as a shield against evil and even absorbs negativity.” In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, “blue eyes are relatively rare, so the ancients believed that people with light eyes, particularly blue eyes, could curse you [one] with just one look. This belief is so ancient, even the Assyrians had turquoise and blue-eye amulets.”
- A Nazar battu (Hindustani: नज़र बट्टू or نظر بٹو) is an icon, charm bracelet, tattoo or other object or pattern used in North India and Pakistan to ward-off the evil eye (or nazar). In Persian and Afghan folklore, it is called a cheshm nazar (Persian: چشم نظر) or nazar qurbāni (Persian: نظرقربانی). In India and Pakistan, the Hindi-Urdu slogan of Persian origin Chashm-e-Baddoor(Persian: چشم بد دور) is used to ward off the evil eye. (Sources from Wiki)
- The Eye of Horus, wedjat eye or udjat eye is a concept and symbol in ancient Egyptian religion that represents well-being, healing, and protection. It derives from the mythical conflict between the god Horus with his rival Set, in which Set tore out or destroyed one or both of Horus’s eyes and the eye was subsequently healed or returned to Horus with the assistance of another deity, such as Thoth. The stylized eye symbol was used interchangeably to represent the Eye of Ra. Egyptologists often simply refer to this symbol as the wedjat eye.
- The Eye of Horus was equated with funerary offerings, as well as with all the offerings given to deities in temple ritual. It could also represent other concepts, such as the moon, whose waxing and waning was likened to the injury and restoration of the eye.
- Horus was represented as a falcon, such as a lanner or peregrine falcon, or as a human with a falcon head. The Eye of Horus is a stylized human or falcon eye. The symbol often includes an eyebrow, a dark line extending behind the rear corner of the eye, a cheek marking below the center or forward corner of the eye, and a line extending below and toward the rear of the eye that ends in a curl or spiral. The cheek marking resembles that found on many falcons.
Eye miniatures, also known as lover’s eyes, cropped up across Britain around 1785 and were en vogue for shorter than half a century. As with the royal couple, most were commissioned as gifts expressing devotion between loved ones. Some, too, were painted in memory of the deceased. All were intimate and exceedingly precious: eyes painted on bits of ivory no bigger than a pinky nail, then set inside ruby-garlanded brooches, pearl-encrusted rings, or ornate golden charms meant to be tucked into pockets, or pinned close to the heart.
As objects, lover’s eyes are mesmerizing—and bizarre. Part-portrait, part-jewel, they resist easy categorization. They’re also steeped in mystery: In most cases, both the subject whose eye was depicted and the artist who painted it are unknown. What sparked their popularity? Why had they faded so quickly from use? And why portray a single eye, as opposed to a whole portrait? Whether they were meant to be secret, if the relationship was illicit; or just a steamy smoldering “for your eyes only” glance… they are exquisite miniatures! ( source: Artsy.com)
- Top Ten works of Art featuring eyes
- The Eye of Providence
- Mirror of the Soul: Eyes in Art
- Lover’s Eye jewelry
Quotes (from Brainy Quote)
- “Eyes speak all languages…” R. W. Emerson
- “When I know your soul, I will paint your eyes.” A. Modigliani
- “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” T. Roosevelt
- “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” M. Proust
- “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” A. Einstein