Everybody is sometimes drawn in by a blue wave, thrown out of balance by sadness or drowned in sorrow. This is the feeling known to all mankind and there is no escape from it. From the beginning of art, man has always found a way to depict his feelings, and sadness is one of the two most common, most important feelings. It is the opposition of happy and the emotional equivalent of pain.
Reasons for which we may feel sad are infinite, be it only a short-term moment inspired by a sad scene, sad face, sad news or a sad situation, or some larger, deeper, overwhelming tragedies of life. Sadness arises because of loss, compassion, despair or helplessness. Visual symbols of sadness were the frown, sad face and tears, followed by a gesture of bowed down head, empty look or motionless. The interpretations of sad faces are many, from the true artistic values, to little emoticons we use on daily basis.
Inspired by the power of sadness, poets have always produced spirited lyrics inducing waterfalls of tears. But painters have always sought to find something beautiful in a sad face, the glow in a tear, the purity of the blue emotion. Their depictions range from subtle crying portraits, to inspiring photographs of grief stricken people, to portrayals of wild pain, as it one of the most iconic paintings of all times, The Scream by Munch. Sad faces of modern men and women flooded the figurative contemporary art, from the early modernity to pop art. Remember Lichtenstein painting Crying Girl from the 1960s, the depiction of a sad modern woman, crying because of unreturned love. All of these works contain a level of drama different than ordinary, tranquil scenes, They are moving, saddening and captivating in their own right.
Perhaps some of the most touching depictions of sad faces can be found in cemeteries, where sadness is the resident. Often are old graves crowned with crying angels, bearing flowers and spilling tears over the deceased.
As graphic design formed over time, the simple, re-usable symbols of sad face have been multiplying. We all know and love the Smiley Face, but we use its opposite, the Sad Face just as much. It’s sent to show we feel somebody’s pain or we simply feel down. As the communications evolved, the emoticons became more elaborate and now it’s possible to express the sadness with a number of sad faces ranging from just sad to screaming in agony.
The truth is, sadness comes from various sources and it is personal for each one of us. We can find it in a friend’s face, in faces of our loved ones, in the expression of a colleague, in the big eyes of a crying child. It flows through pools of melancholy, grief and depression, while provoking the sad look on its victim’s face. It’s inevitable and omnipresent, but as long as we are not afraid of expressing it, it’s all alright. Because sadness and sad face is the inseparable part of life.