In allegorical paintings, figures may symbolise various emotional states or personify abstract concepts like love, envy, or Revolution.
An allegory is a representation of one subject using the guise of another. It has a long history in all art forms, primarily due to its potent ability to convey intricate ideas and concepts in a straightforward and tangible manner to viewers, readers, or listeners.
In the context of contemporary art, allegory occurs when one narrative can symbolise another, a concept initially introduced in Craig Owens' book, ‘The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism’. An instance of this allegorical usage can be seen in Sarah Lucas's artwork ‘Two Fried Eggs and a Kebab’ from 1992, where food signifies aspects of sexual politics. Owens asserts that artists employing allegory reveal how objects can carry not just one, but multiple meanings.