Halo (religious iconography)

A halo is a crown of light rays, circle or disk of light that surrounds a person in art. It has been used in the iconography of many religions to indicate holy or sacred figures, has at various periods been used in images of rulers or heroes. In the religious art of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Hinduism and Islam, among other religions, sacred persons may be depicted with a halo in the form of a circular glow, or flames in Asian art, around the head or around the whole body—this last one is called a mandorla. Halos may be shown as any colour or combination of colours, but are most depicted as golden, yellow or white when representing light or red when representing flames. Homer describes a more-than-natural light around the heads of heroes in battle. Depictions of Perseus in the act of slaying Medusa, with lines radiating from his head, appear on a white-ground toiletry box in the Louvre and on a later red-figured vase in the style of Polygnotos, ca. 450-30 BC, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On painted wares from south Italy, radiant lines or simple haloes appear on a range of mythic figures: Lyssa, a personification of madness. The Colossus of Rhodes had his usual radiate crown. Hellenistic rulers are shown wearing radiate crowns that seem to imitate this effect. Further afield, Sumerian religious literature speaks of melam, a "brilliant, visible glamour, exuded by gods, sometimes by kings, by temples of great holiness and by gods' symbols and emblems." The halo and the aureola have been used in Indian art in Buddhist iconography where it has appeared since at least the 1st century AD. The rulers of the Kushan Empire were the earliest to give themselves haloes on their coins, the nimbus in art may have originated in Central Asia and spread both east and west. In Chinese and Japanese Buddhist art the halo has been used since the earliest periods in depicting the image of Amitabha Buddha and others. Tibetan Buddhism uses haloes and aureoles of many types, drawing from both Indian and Chinese traditions, extensively in statues and Thangka paintings of Buddhist saints such as Milarepa and Padmasambhava and deities.

Different coloured haloes have specific meanings: orange for monks, green for the Buddha and other more elevated beings, figures have both a halo for the head, another circular one for the body, the two intersecting somewhere around the head or neck. Thin lines of gold radiate outwards or inwards from the rim of the halo, sometimes a whole halo is made up of these. In India the head halo is called Prabhamandala or Siras-cakra, while the full body halo is Prabhavali. Elaborate haloes and aureoles appear in Hindu sculpture, where they tend to develop into architectural frames in which the original idea can be hard to recognise. Theravada Buddhism and Jainism did not use the halo for many centuries, but adopted it, though less than other religious groups. In Asian art, the nimbus is imagined as consisting not just of light, but of flames; this type seems to first appear in Chinese bronzes of which the earliest surviving examples date from before 450. The depiction of the flames may be formalized, as in the regular little flames on the ring aureole surrounding many Chola bronzes and other classic Hindu sculptures of divinities, or prominent, as with the more realistic flames, sometimes smoke, shown rising to a peak behind many Tibetan Buddhist depictions of the "wrathful aspect" of divinities, in Persian miniatures of the classic period.

This type is very found, on a smaller scale, in medieval Christian art. Sometimes a thin line of flames rise up from the edges of a circular halo in Buddhist examples. In Tibetan paintings the flames are shown as blown by a wind from left to right. Halos are found in Islamic art from various places and periods in Persian miniatures and Moghul and Ottoman art influenced by them. Flaming halos derived from Buddhist art surround angels, similar ones are seen around Muhammad and other sacred human figures. From the early 17th century, plainer round haloes appear in portraits of Mughal Emperors and subsequently Rajput and Sikh rulers; the Ottomans avoided using halos for the sultans, despite their title as Caliph, they are only seen on Chinese emperors if they are posing as Buddhist religious figures, as some felt entitled to do. The halo represents an aura or the glow of sanctity, conventionally drawn encircling the head, it first appeared in the culture of Hellenistic Greece and Rome related to the Zoroastrian hvarena – "glory" or "divine lustre" – which marked the Persian kings, may have been imported with Mithraism.

Though Roman paintings have disappeared, save some fresco decorations, the haloed figure remains fresh in Roman mosaics. In a 2nd-century AD Roman floor mosaic preserved at Bardo, Tunisia, a haloed Poseidon appears in his chariot drawn by hippocamps; the triton and nereid who accompany the sea-god are not haloed. In a late 2nd century AD floor mosaic from Thysdrus, El Djem, Apollo Helios is identified by his effulg

Marc Jung

Marc Jung is a German painter and artist. He is based in Erfurt. Jung grew up in Erfurt. From 1991 to 2004 he was a competitive wrestler; as a compensation for the harsh daily life of an athlete, he started to have an interest in Hip-Hop-culture and above all in graffiti. After finishing his career as a sportsman he did streetart projects in Erfurt and New York City. Jung graduated from Bauhaus University Weimar, he studied in Vienna and Dresden, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden. 2009 whilst studying under Daniel Richter at Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He was told. Facing the 50:50 chance of suffering from Huntington's disease he decided not to be tested and instead to invest all his time and energy in becoming an acclaimed artist, he works in Berlin and Erfurt. Although Jungs works is famous for his large-format canvases with rich, brilliant colours his repertory ranges from drawings, painted photos to mixed media."The work of Marc Jung is characterized by a fight between rules and anarchy and between harmony and destruction.""His own Style translates Basquiats expression into the here and now.

His composition disfigures Bacon and Velasquez beyond recognition." Works by Jung can be found in the collections of the Kunstsammlung Jena, the Angermuseum in Erfurt and in private collections throughout Europe, the US and Australia. Since 2007, Marc Jung's work has been the subject of more than 100 solo exhibitions and group exhibitions throughout Germany and internationally, his first international exhibition was in Indonesia. Recent works of Jung were displayed in Berlin. Frankfurt and Hamburg Official website


Motya was an ancient and powerful city on San Pantaleo Island off the west coast of Sicily, in the Stagnone Lagoon between Drepanum and Lilybaeum. It is within the present-day commune of Italy. Many of the city's impressive ancient monuments can be admired today. Motya has become known for the marble statue of the Motya Charioteer, found in 1979 and on display at the local Giuseppe Whitaker museum; the Carthaginian settlement was written in their abjad as HMṬWʾ or MṬWʾ. The name seems to derive from the Phoenician triliteral root MṬR, which would give it the meaning of "a wool-spinning center". Motya is the latinization of the island's Greek name, variously written Motýa or Motýē; the Greeks claimed the place was named for a woman named Motya whom they connected with the myths around Hercules. The town's Italian name appears as both Mothia; the island first received the name San Pantaleo in the 11th century from Basilian monks. The island is nearly 850 m long and 750 m wide, about 1 km from the mainland of Sicily.

It was joined to the mainland in ancient times by a causeway, over which chariots with large wheels could reach the town. The foundation of the city dates from the eighth century BC, about a century after the foundation of Carthage in Tunisia, it was a colony of the Phoenicians, who were fond of choosing similar sites, in the first instance a commercial station or emporium, but rose to be a flourishing and important town. The Phoenicians transformed the inhospitable island into one of the most affluent cities of its time defended by the lagoon as well as high defensive walls. Ancient windmills and salt pans were used for evaporation, salt grinding and refinement, to maintain the condition of the lagoon and island itself; the mills and salt pans have been restored by the owners and opened to the public. In common with the other Phoenician settlements in Sicily, it passed under the government or dependency of Carthage, whence Diodorus calls it a Carthaginian colony; as the Greek colonies in Sicily increased in numbers and importance the Phoenicians abandoned their settlements in the immediate neighbourhood of the newcomers, concentrated themselves in the three principal colonies of Soluntum and Motya.

The last of these, from its proximity to Carthage and its opportune situation for communication with North Africa, as well as the natural strength of its position, became one of the chief strongholds of the Carthaginians, as well as one of the most important of their commercial cities in the island. It appears to have held, in both these respects, the same position, attained at a period by Lilybaeum. Notwithstanding these accounts of its early importance and flourishing condition, the name of Motya is mentioned in history until just before the period of its memorable siege, it is first mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus, Thucydides notices it among the chief colonies of the Phoenicians in Sicily which existed at the time of the Athenian expedition, 415 BC. A few years when the Carthaginian army under Hannibal Mago landed at the promontory of Lilybaeum, that general laid up his fleet for security in the gulf around Motya, while he advanced with his land forces along the coast to attack Selinus.

After the fall of the latter city, we are told that Hermocrates, the Syracusan exile, who had established himself on its ruins with a numerous band of followers, laid waste the territories of Motya and Panormus. It was the important position to which Motya had thus attained that led Dionysius I of Syracuse to direct his principal efforts to its reduction, when in 397 BC he in his turn invaded the Carthaginian territory in Sicily; the citizens on the other hand, relying on succour from Carthage, made preparations for a vigorous resistance. When this was accomplished, the military engines of Dionysius were brought up to the walls, the Motyans continued a desperate resistance; this obstinate struggle only increased the previous exasperation of the Sicilian Greeks against the Carthaginians. After this, the Syracusan despot placed it in charge of a garrison under an officer named Biton, while his brother Leptines of Syracuse made it the station of his fleet, but the next spring Himilcon, the Carthaginian general, having landed at Panormus with a large force, recovered possession of Motya with comparatively little difficulty.

Motya, was not destined to recover its former importance. From this period the latter altogether disappears from history.