Terrance Lindall on "Satan and Sin"
From an email this morning, I see that the artist Terrance Lindall is making progress on his Elephant Folio for Paradise Lost. He sends the above image of "Satan and Sin" and opens his email with a quote from Paradise Lost:
"And all amid them stood the tree of life, High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit Of vegetable gold; and next to life Our death the tree of knowledge grew fast by, Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill." ~John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IVLindall doesn't precisely specify why he chose this quote -- lines 218-222 -- but I infer from what he does say that he's linking the Earthly Fall alluded to in this quote to the earlier, Celestial Fall of Satan, both being instances of knowledge attained at a very steep price, so steep that one cannot avoid a fall. Anyway, here is what Lindall does tell us:
So here is the border for "Enamoured." Unlike the Worm Ouroboros that has his tail in his mouth, The Infernal Serpent has heads at both ends and the serpent kisses himself with tongues entwined (rather sexual). Exorbitant self love is Satan's downfall. He wanted God's love, he resented God's love of the Son. His PRIDE was hurt. He only thought of and really cared about his own selfish grandeur. Here he makes love to Sin, his own creation, part of (an aspect of) himself. He is engaged in incest, if you consider Sin his daughter, or he is making love to himself, if you consider Sin a part of his own being.Lindall is riffing off James 1:15:
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.But Lindall also has John Milton's own interpretation in mind (cf. Paradise Lost 2:746-814). And here's where Lindall offers food for my thoughts on the possible link between the two falls mentioned above:
At the bottom panel the serpent's body penetrates the apple (representing knowledge) that is also a heart (symbolic of love). Again this penetration is sexual, of desire . . . for both love and knowledge . . . knowledge of Sin in this case.Here's a detail from the "Satan and Sin" image above:
The Serpent's body also spouts hearts and apples out of his body yielding deadly desire and deadly knowledge.
You can check out this project here: Elephant Folio Paradise Lost.