Associated with the visual impact of this painting is the use of lines and colors. The eye is swept along the pessimistic horizontal lines of the road, the footpath and the wall depicted in darker colors and subtle shadows. However, beyond the horizontal borders of the wall, hope springs vertically – the optimistic lines of the church reach for the sky in an array of bright but soft colors, culminating in the blue domes of the church.
In the foreground, a solitary man walks (perhaps in resignation) past the high wall and the strong railments of the closed gate. The wall is a boundary, a barrier restricting hope and forbidding entry to the religious freedom and spirituality beyond.
In a political sense, the scene is a symbol of oppression and the curtailment of fundamental human freedom: the freedom to choose.
Yet in this notion of freedom of choice lies a paradox: do we really want to see beyond the wall anyway? Do we really want to cultivate our spirituality? Are we willing to scale the wall, and pass through the gate to see the beauty and enlightenment that waits for us? The choice is ours. The artist is only showing us that such a possibility exists.