"Man's Evolving Images, Printing and Writing"

James Sicner’s mural, “Man's Evolving Images, Printing and Writing,” is an icon of Trinity University. Since its completion in 19831, visitors and residents alike are amazed by the mural, whether it is their 1st or 100th viewing of the piece. With each fresh glance, new parts and pieces of artwork can be found. With over 800 individual pieces of artwork on the mural2, there is always more to discover.

Coates Library Mural

When creating the mural, Sicner incorporated certain artistic mediums and artists throughout. Key figures include Albrecht Dürer, Gustave Doré, and William Blake. All three of these artists’ works are located primarily on the left side of the mural’s front, connected by their theme of Christianity. Sicner was heavily inspired by these three artists and used a total of twelve of their works combined. 

While Dürer and Blake are physically connected to each other because of their close placement, they are also connected historically. According to Arthur Symons 1907 book William Blake, Blake “worked with Dürer’s ‘Melencolia’ on his work-table,” tying the artists together historically3. Blake was inspired by Melencolia I much like how Sicner was inspired by Dürer and Blake himself. 

In addition to these frequently used artists, Sicner was also very inspired by woodcuts and etchings. Because of their strong shadows, these pieces translated easily into the black and white color scheme. Etchings and woodcuts collections are highlighted throughout the mural. 

  1. Greenburg, Mike. “University Unveils “Trinity” of Art.” Lively Art page 105. October 9, 1983. (accessed July 8, 2020). 
  2. Greenburg, Mike. “Mural without End, Amen.” The Sunday Express News page 192. November 29, 1981. (accessed July 8, 2020). 
  3. Symons, Arthur. “William Blake” In William Blake page 122. E. P. Dutton: New York. 1907. (accessed July 8, 2020). https://archive.org/details/williamblake00symoiala/page/122/mode/2up