Column: “Hannibal” art shows that fan art should be appreciated

Helena Edwards, Opinions Writer

All my closest friends know I am obsessed with the movies and TV show “Hannibal.” It is one of my special interests and once started it is difficult to get me to stop talking about it.  

Recently, to my great joy, fanart of the two main characters from the TV show created by a high school student in New Jersey won in the Congressional Art Competition and it is now hanging in the U.S. Capitol building. 

This was announced via Twitter by Congressman Andy Kim from New Jersey, who was completely unaware of where this cubist art piece drew inspiration from, and I think that blissful unawareness just adds to the situation. 

The art itself depicts a scene from the show where the characters Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) sit in the Uffizi gallery in Italy in front of the painting Primavera by Sandro Botticelli. 

The painting is about spring and rebirth. As Hannibal is sitting there before Will approaches him, he is drawing Will and another character, his former psychiatrist Bedelia. 

In connection to the painting before them, Will and Hannibal discuss how after the events of previous seasons in which I will not spoil that they are now connected and reborn as new people in the aftermath of tragedy.  

“Freeing yourself from me and me freeing myself from you, they are the same,” Hannibal says. Will responds, “We are conjoined. I’m curious on which either of us can survive separation.” 

The entirety of the show is about morality in connection to mortality and the intimacy of truly seeing another person in their darkest acts. Hannibal caught Will in a web of murder and lies to cultivate and lead Will into being his equal. Hannibal craves someone who can truly see him and takes advantage of the fact that Will in his character is able to get into the minds of serial killers like Hannibal. 

The looks that Will and Hannibal give each other in the cubist painting from this high school student depict the scene well and it reminds me of other art that society has already accepted to be held at high value but what is essentially also fanart; yes, I am talking about biblical art. 

Fanart has been a thing for centuries, one of my favorites being “The Last Supper.” It requires the context and deeper meaning of its source material to genuinely appreciate, just like this “Hannibal” fan art. 

In the painting, Jesus shares a final meal with his apostles, but the context that is important to note is that this is right before Judas betrays him and Jesus is crucified. 

Another piece of what can be classified as fanart is the painting “Ophelia” by John Everett Millais. It is based on the character’s death in the play “Hamlet.” 

People are drawn to art and media that they can connect with, one theme being tragedy. This “Hannibal” fanart being hung up in the U.S. Capitol is a progression of people giving validity to fan art of all kinds, more than just material that is considered classic. 

Helena Edwards can be reached  at [email protected]