Artist's description:

"Désastre de Lisbonne 1755" (2015)

This painting is about the philosophical work of Voltaire.
The earthquake on 1 November 1755 had completely devastated Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The city was reduced to ruins, and between 10,000 to 60,000 people were killed. One of the most destructive earthquakes in history, the event had a major effect on the cultural consciousness of much of Europe.

Voltaire was one of many philosophers, theologians and intellectuals to be deeply affected by the disaster. Catholics attempted to explain the disaster as God's wrath, invited by the sinfulness of the people of Portugal and the presence of Protestants and Jesuits; Protestants blamed the Portuguese for being Catholic, and were thus punished by God.

Voltaire's philosophical pessimism and deism, further bolstered by the earthquake, argued that philosophical optimism and the notion that "what is, is right" was empty philosophy based speculation. Due to the prevalence of perceived evil, Voltaire was convinced that there could not possibly exist a benign, all-loving, or intervening deity who aggrandized the virtuous and punished the sinful. He asserted instead that the disaster revealed the weak, helpless, and ignorant nature of humankind.
Signed and dated on the back. Shipped with a certificate of authenticity.

NOTE: The images in context are not to scale and are for display purposes only.

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'Désastre de Lisbonne (1755)' (2015)


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Patrick Nikowitz



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