The man who designed the original Eye of the Pyramid in 1782 as seen on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States (also seen on the back side of the one dollar bill) was NOT a Freemason, but a Christian (most probably a Protestant). How devout or traditional of a believer he actually was, we do not know, but it was definitely Christianity (and nothing else) that inspired the Eye theme, not Freemasonry. Here is why:
TITLE: Supper at Emmaus
ARTIST: Pontormo Carucci
During a frugal meal, served by the monks who commissioned the painting, two disciples recognize Christ after the Resurrection, (Luke: 24). The naturalistic details precede the genre scenes of 17th century painting. Following the Council of Trent (1545 -1563) the eye of God seen above replaced the three-faced head of the Trinity. It was painted for the guesthouse of the Carthusian monastery at Galluzzo. However, following the suppression of convents, the work was transferred to the Accademia in 1810 and later to the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in 1948.
- Supper at Emmaus, GoogleArtProject.com
The eye that looks out from the top of Jacopo Pontormo's painting, "Cena in Emmaus" is, to say the least, mysterious. Art is indeed what the vision makes of it but someone still has to bring the meal on a plate.
The triangle could be read simply as a symbol of Trinity but the artist has done a rare thing, surpassing even the best intentions of a modern surrealist. While we are looking at the painting, the painting is also looking at us. If we connect this observation with the apparition of the Resurrected Christ before two of his disciples, the painting, by its composition, studies the nature of belief. It makes us rethink what Christ's resurrection meant to the disciples and by extension to Christians themselves. The painting reveals that the resurrection was a powerful 'visual' event. The affirmation of the 'truth' is in what the eye sees. We may suddenly realise that not only can God see everything, but we too can see him through Jesus as an incarnation. Belief is a reciprocal event. He shows not only just his earthly presence but that Man is indeed made in his image.
God can now not only be 'believed in' but actually perceived using our senses.
- The Poetry of it All: Overcoming confusion by believing, HumanistArt.net