“With your hands, you peel onions …” this is the famed first line in a popular Italian song by Zucchero.
We do so many things with our hands…
We only realize how much when even a little accident stops us from using them.
All you need is one bandaged hand to realize how much a finger, any finger, can do and how miraculous it is how they work.
So, today, we’ll pay tribute to hands and their importance.
We’ll look at them in their most unexpected gestures, from the noble hands to humblest.
What is, indeed, more terrible than a betrayal?

Hands in Ancient Fine Art

The subject is easy to understand as the fish has long been a symbol of Christ.

And what could be chicer than a raised pinkie?

Hands in Fine Art
James Tissot
Artist from 1800

James Tissot, a late 19th-century French painter transplanted to London, irresistibly depicts the bourgeoisie, with its rituals, aspirations, and obsessions.
Since the origins of the bourgeoisie in Florence at the time of the Medici, it has always desperately sought to stand in the shoes of the nobility it was pushing out, borrowing its lifestyles, fashions, gestures, and so on.
But like all things copied rather than innate, there is always that touch of falseness, of pretense.
Francesco Trombadori, an artist of the 20th-century Roman school, shows us the grace of a hand covering the privates.

Hands in Fine Art
Francesco Trombadori
Roman School Artist

Two beautiful hands that are sewing in the work of Angelo Caroselli (Rome 1585–1652) become an allegory of Vanitas.

Angelo Caroselli Allegory in Fine Art
Angelo Caroselli

And wouldn’t it be lovely to hear the music played by the hand portrayed in the painting attributed to the baroque painter

Hands in Fine Art
Théodore Van Thulden
Playing Hands

We know little about these gesticulating but we can guess much.

Ancient Fine Art
White-Gloved Hands

The costumes suggest a discussion between a nobleman and a high prelate. We imagine a great deal was at stake, perhaps even the age-old battle a balance between State and Church.
We do know the story of Theseus, Arianna and her thread, depicted in a painting by an artist about whom we know only his ‘name piece’: the

Old Master Master of the Cassoni Campana.
Master of the Cassoni Campana

We know that he was active in Florence in the 16th century but do not know his identity.
Of course, we couldn’t forget one of Pablo Picasso‘s classic big hands,

Modern Fine Art Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Modern Art

which reminds us of the myriad ways of observing and representing the world.
Let’s finish up with a piece by Pietro da Rimini (1324–1338).
The task of these hands may be the most sorrowful of all.

Old Master Painting Pietro da Rimini
Pietro da Rimini Deposition

Only the peerless grace of Italian Primitives can let us consider such a trial: taking Jesus’s lifeless body down from the cross.