Wednesday, September 2, 2009
More Text: The Last Judgment
I am continuing to post descriptions of my paintings on my blog as I add them to my web page. Below is the text for The Last Judgment. If you want to see a larger image of this painting go here. If you click on that image you can see details.
The Last Judgment has been a popular theme in Christian art which artists including, Michelangelo, Vander Weden, Van Eyk, and Fra Angelico have pursued. Many of the symbols used in the Last Judgment are reoccurring, such as the saved on the right hand of God and the damned on the left, St. Michael with scales and the newly redeemed emerging naked from their grave to receive the white robes and palm branches.
While including these symbols and others I have also tried to update the subject by including a modern cityscape. In the cityscape are the ubiquitous advertising signs of urban life. These are signs of our overriding desire for security, comfort and convenience: Easy-Fast-Cheap-Pay Later-You Deserve More-Eat-Drink-Be Merry as well as the universal Wal-Mart and McDonalds signs.
The unmarked building in the foreground is an abortion clinic. On the wall is a sign exhorting people to have safe sex. Also on the wall is graffiti that says Kyrie Eleison. People, both men and women, fathers and mothers, file in pregnant and file out with their arms loaded with goodies. The pipes protruding from the clinic deliver the aborted babies into the maw of Moloch. As someone once said there is no sacrifice without blood. The sacrifice we make for our luxurious lifestyles of consumerism is the cost of the unborn, nearly 50 million since 1973. As the people leave the clinic they are blinded by the goods they are carrying and fall off the path into the fires of hell.
Above the clinic is a billboard of Michael the archangel. Instead of dressing him as a medieval knight, I have him attired as a contemporary army man but his camouflage is flames of fire (as angels are often described as fiery beings). Michael is shown dispatching the old serpent, the devil with his spear.
Beneath the maw of Moloch emerge the resurrected children taken in abortion. St. Thomas Aquinas suggests that in heaven everyone will be 33 years old, the age of Jesus when he died so everyone is young. They emerge naked as traditional iconography dictates. They wind up the stairs toward heaven pausing to acquire the white robe of the martyr and the palm branch, another symbol of martyrdom.
At the top of the painting Jesus is shown as the king of heaven with his mother next to him, the queen of heaven. They are surrounded by the saints and angels engulfed in a multitude of rainbow prisms as they are partaking in the heavenly light.
Surrounding Jesus feet, which rest on an orb, are the four living creatures.
This painting is the largest one I have done in a while: 8’x5’. It is acrylic on canvas.