Did you know that the peace sign was possibly influenced by this famous painting?
The peace sign symbol was created in 1958 by Gerald Holtom for the British nuclear disarmament movement.
Holtom presented it to the Direct Action Committee on February 21, 1958 where it was “immediately accepted” as the symbol for a march that was to protest atomic weapons.
The symbol is a super-imposition of the flag semaphore for the characters “N” and “D” to stand for “nuclear disarmament.”
Holtom, though, has also claimed that he was inspired by the central figure in Francisco de Goya’s painting “The Third of May 1808.”
He claims to have been so captured by the despair of the central figure that he created the symbol to have arms up.
Not wanting to suggest despair, though, he allegedly changed it so that the arms pointed down, a symbol of hope.
It was a very popular symbol and was quickly adopted by many other anti-war movements throughout the 1960s, hence its popularity throughout the ‘60s.
Today, the original design for the peace sign is in the Peace Museum in Bradford, England.