Stone carvings have used a combination of images and text for centuries for a variety of different purposes. The carving of rocks and stones has been evidenced even since the Prehistoric times where the Paleolithic Era began when stone tools were developed for the first time, marking the beginning of representational art from the human race. Then after the establishment of language, text was added to carvings, increasing information passed down to future generations.
Surprisingly, although done in more efficient ways, stone carvings of a combination of image and text are still extremely popular today in marking gravestones and embellishment of buildings.
Hieroglyphs were the method of written communication during the Ancient Egyptian era, usually written on papyrus reed with ink or carved into stone.
Hieroglyphs use a combination of alphabetic elements and logagraphs, a graphic that represents a word or phrase. There are thought to be over 700 hieroglyphs, each representing a different object, sound, idea or action.
This combination of image and text has been extremely important to historians in researching life between 3200BC and AD 400 thanks to the Rosetta Stone which, as it also reads in Greek, helped historians decipher the hieroglyphs.
Hieroglyphics are the first example of image and text being used as a combination to form a language, and is an example of how a combination of the two can be useful in learning about past ages.
The Chinese Language
Being a logographic language, Chinese uses symbols to represent letters, words and phrases rather than a traditional alphabet. Chinese is the oldest continuously used language in the world and is still used by approximately 1.1 billion people. The Chinese language is a perfect example of how images and text can work together to create a medium of communication.
The use of a combination of image and text are strongly evident in many religious manuscripts. A number of examples are:
The Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various early texts and tables. It was created by Celtic monks in approximately AD 800.
Codex Amiatinus is the earliest surviving manuscript of the nearly complete Bible in Latin Vulgate, and is considered to be the most accurate surviving copy of St. Jerome’s text.
Codex Gigas is the is the largest extant medieval manuscript in the world thought to have been created in the 13th century.
Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated manuscript gospel book thought to be produced around the year 700 AD and is the best documented and most complete Insular manuscript of the period.
The Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander
The Tetraevangelia of Ivan Alexander is an illuminated manuscript Gospel Book written in Middle Bulgarian in the 14th Century.
All of these manuscripts use a combination of both image and text to pass on information about religion to future generations and their contents are still read and lived by today.
Soviet Propaganda posters first appeared during the Proletarian Revolution in Russia – their aim was to deliver Communist Party’s slogans to the general public and called on workers and peasants to fight for freedom and justice. The posters used a combination of image and text to project their message whilst also keeping viewers interested with short bits of text supported by larger, brightly coloured graphics. Posters proved very important during the October Revolution and following Civil War.
This ‘Have you enlisted in the Army?’ poster made by Dmitry Moor shows a solidier in the foreground pointing at the viewer, with plumes of smoke rising from a smokestack in the background.
This poster, titled ‘Lengiz, Books on Every Subject’ was created by Aleksandr Rodchenko in 1924, includes a portrait of Lilya Brik and was used as a bookstore advertisment. Rather than illustration, Rodchenko used an actual photograph in this piece with a combination of text.
Collages are another popular method of combining both images and text, with various objects, materials and mediums assembled together to create a piece of art that communicates a message. Some examples are below:
Comic books are a good example of how image and text can be used together in order to tell a story and provide entertainment for the reader. Comics are usually composed of a sequence of panels of images, paired with speech balloons and captions to indicate dialogue and narrations. Comic books have been popular since around the 1930’s and the basic juxtaposition of them has stood the test of time and remains that way in the present day. Below are some examples of popular comic books