Doves of Peace

from the IISH poster collection

1976 A flock of fifteen doves shows but a small part of the rich collection of posters issued by the international peace movement at the IISH.

The origin of the dove of peace is in the Old Testament. Noah sends out a pigeon from his ark to see if the earth is still flooded. The bird returns with a twig from an olive tree, proof that the flood waters are retreating and a sign of change for the better. The symbol of the dove was not restricted to the branch of peace activism based on the bible, it has spread all over the world.

P.Picasso, 1949 After World War II Pablo Picasso, at that time a Communist, was responsible for the decisive use of the dove of peace. His lithograph designed for the international peace congress in Paris, 1949, features the white ancestor of a new family of doves.

Since Picasso, graphic artists have produced an endless series of doves of peace in different shapes. The dove is dressed in the cloak of an American bomber, the dove changes halfway into a hawk. The dove flaps about on a "sweet" drawing from Communist China and on a very graphic collage from Turkey, the dove peacefully squats on a Palestinian scarf, or is hidden in the hands of militant youngsters from Eastern Europe. The dove indissolubly belongs to warfare of any kind.

Text: Margreet Schrevel, March 2003