Terrance Lindall: The Gold Illuminated Scroll
We have today another polyptych painting, not of the Last Judgment but of the first one, the judgment leveled upon Adam and Eve as described in John Milton's Paradise Lost and depicted in this painting by the illustrious illustrator Terrance Lindall -- a surrealist-fantasy artist and a "latter day Bosch," according to the art critic Dr. Leo Steinberg.
This polyptych painting is in the form of a scroll that reads right to left, but I'll let the information offered by the Yuko Nii Foundation explain:
Terrance Lindall in his year long celebration of John Milton's 400th birthday, which started on December 8, 2008, has just completed as of December 8, 2009, what is considered by the few who have seen it already to be the most unusual painting for Milton's Paradise Lost ever done. It is in the form of a scroll that reads from right to left like a Torah.I think that this says things rather better than I could. Full disclosure: I am a member of The Paradise Lost Committee -- as I believe that it's called. My job is to sit 'virtually' on the committee and do little other than offer occasional scholarly remarks, though other scholars on the committee do that rather better than I.
The scroll is now in the Milton collection at the Yuko Nii Foundation. It contains one of Lindall's "complete" versions of PL. It is 14 inches high [and about 68 inches long] with 24 K (23.75) gold illuminated miniature inset paintings plus many other cartouches of the Bodleian Library, the Visionary Foal, Milton dictating, Nemo's submarine, etc.
The scroll begins with the great omniscient eye of God in the upper right hand corner. In the iris of the eye reads "THE WORD." Below the eye is the Tree of Life, roots extending upwards with a bird of paradise perched atop. The Tree of Life becomes a vine that twines across the bottom of the scroll. The upper portion of the scroll contains the miniature paintings depicting scenes from Milton's epic. The bottom part is the text that is only to be read as captions, not complete Miltonic quotes.
The opening panel shows an angel wrestling with a snake over the Garden of Eden and piercing the serpent with his sword. The angel and serpent are in the form of a cloud and the sword piercing the serpent delivers gold lighting bolts . . . portending the tragedy that is to come.
At the bottom in the next panel Milton is dictating Paradise Lost to his daughter, giving birth to the serpent with a burst of flame from his forehead like Athena from the head of Zeus or Sin from the head of Satan. A bottle is pouring forth a stream water that symbolizes the purity of God's Spirit or God's "Historical Will." It flows throughout the panels beneath the Pillars of the Universe. The water also represents Milton's reputation which starts off small and by the 19th century becomes an ocean in which we see Captain Nemo's 19th Century submarine Nautilus. Nemo is somewhat like Satan, rebelling against what he perceives as the injustice of a greater power.
There is a mysterious winged creature riding the Visionary Foal at the bottom of the panels. The Visionary Foal is an aspect of the omniscient God. At the end of the scroll we see who the mystery rider is: it is none other than Satan himself who has been performing God's work. He has been redeemed because God has used him to seduce Adam and Eve so God could actualize his Divine Grace and Mercy by having His alter ego, His Son, sacrifice Himself and take the sins of Adam & Eve back upon himself. God's mercy is not perfect if it is not actualized, and Satan has helped actualize (perfect) it by rebellion and seduction thus initiating God's perfect mercy. But God's Mercy being infinite, God has also redeemed Satan who leans back upon the Heavenly Foal in the next to last panel. Satan is back to Satan's former self, no longer ruined. A rainbow, the promise of God, over Cavalry Hill confirms the redemption or promise of His Perfect Mercy.
The last panel is a library with a Benedictine monk named Wickenheiser holding a book. Wickenheiser is the Universal Librarian, maintaining the records of Man's great thoughts and works recorded in books, especially those of John Milton. The vaulted ceiling of the library becomes a stairway composed of books leading up to the second coming of Christ surrounded by Apostles and the learned men Davinci, Plato, Socrates, Newton and others. Knowledge, forbidden by God to Adam & Eve as a test of their obedience to Goodness, has been vindicated and redeemed for and through Man by God's Grace. Note that another bottle of water on Wickenheiser's library table pours the spirit of God's Will and Milton's reputation back into the scroll the opposite way from the bottle at Milton's feet. It represents the fact that by Wickenheiser's building of the great Milton collection Wickenheiser has sustained, preserved and reestablished Milton's reputation until the end of time.
In the upper left hand corner of the scroll, the great eye of God has closed! "I am the Alpha and Omega, I am the Beginning and the End," so sayeth the Lord, "I am the Almighty." Thus, as God opens the universe with His Great Eternal Eye and THE WORD, He also closes His Great Eternal Eye at the end of time, and nothing more is perceived about our universe!
For a larger image of the final three 'panels' of this polyptych, go to the The Gold Illuminated Scroll site. For a video presentation, go to You Tube.
At the linked website, one can even order copies of this exclusive scroll. I make no money for announcing this, by the way, nor does Mr. Lindall make any money for selling copies of his scroll. Profits go to the Yuko Nii Foundation to support the arts.