The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdom, a maritime culture that flourished for over a thousand years (c. 1550–539 BC). In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire, and eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity. In the Mount Lebanon range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church was established. As the ArabMuslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The ties they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the modern era.
Lebanon is a mural size painting by Nabil Kanso depicting the Lebanese Civil War in a scene invoking the spirit and character of the people in the midst of horror and violence gripping the country. Amid the scene of chaos and devastation, two central figures reach across toward each other symbolically to represent the appeal for unity in defiance of the forces of division, destruction, and terror.
Painted in oil on linen and completed in 1983, the painting Lebanon measures 28 feet (8.5 meters) long by 10 feet (3meters) tall. Its composition delineates three sections. At the center, two leaping female figures reach toward each other, almost touching. They are within grasp of a tiny pearl of white green light at the center of the canvas. In the foreground plane forming the base of the two converging figures, an appealing mother carrying a child appears bursting out from a torched pyramidal structure serving to balance and heighten the overall impact of the central scene.