Sunday, November 06, 2011

An Early "Merry Christmas" from Terrance Lindall

Milton Harrowing Hell
Terrance Lindall
A Dungeon Christmas Card Greeting

The surrealist artist Terrance´╗┐ Lindall is sending his holiday cards out early this year, and the artwork this time will look familiar to readers of Gypsy Scholar because Terrance is borrowing an image from his recent illustrations for Paradise Lost, which he allowed me to post about. Originally, the figure with the sword was identified with the Son of God, but Terrance later decided to identify the figure with Michael the Archangel. That seemed to me to shift the meaning of the symbolism from the prediction in Milton's Paradise Lost that the Son himself would defeat Satan in a final battle -- though Terrance reinterpreted this to mean Satan's redemption -- to a prediction in St. John's Revelation that Michael will defeat Satan in a final battle. Terrance therefore added an "M" to the angelic figure's belt buckle.

I now see that Terrance might have had another motive, namely, identifying the figure with Milton himself, such that the epic poet ends up not merely defeating Satan but redeeming him, for Terrance explains in his email on the above image: "He is mortifying the great liar Satan with the 'Sword of Truth and Justice.'" How does this redeem Satan? Recall my hypothesis:
[I]f we consider the image of Satan being subjected to "humiliation, stultification, abasement of pride, or mortification," and ask why, we might imagine that "mortification" means Satan's destruction by death, but the term can also mean the rather Catholic expression, "the mortification of the flesh," a type of purging that cleanses one of sin. If we consider the "abasement of [Satan's] pride" and the stabbing and mortifying of Satan's "rebellious alter ego," we can understand these expressions to refer to precisely what Satan is undergoing, namely, the purging of his rebellious pride. He is being prepared for redemption, being made fit again for heaven -- hence leading us to interpret Satan's "fetal position" as a symbolic image of one about to be reborn through the Son, perhaps in the Johannine sense of being "born again" or "born from above," both possible translations being applicable here. This is Terrance's vision of apokatastasis, a universal salvation that for him includes even Satan.

I asked Lindall about my interpretation, and he replied:
MY GOD!! You are one of the people who can put all my work over time together the right way!!!! You interpret me absolutely right! You should write the book on my PL art!

Maybe I will, but I'd best wait till Lindall has finished, for my hermeneutic above is already out of date, which is why I've had to modify some points now that we've seen the sword-bearing figure shift from identification with the Son to Michael to Milton! I guess I can't be right all the time. At any rate, Terrance is offering his cards on the market, as explained in a recent email to those of us on his e-list:
This is this the basic design for the 2011 Xmas card, "Milton Harrowing Hell." He is mortifying the great liar Satan with the "Sword of Truth and Justice." This will be an art print on watercolor paper, signed and numbered. I am not sure how many I will produce. Would any of you like to order them? $25 each (because they are a frame-able art print). Shipping $3. This is the lower 24k gold border panel of one of the elephant folio pages.

Anyone interested in sending Christmas cards of artistic value can perhaps contact Terrance Lindall at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center to inquire about purchasing copies.

Labels: , , , ,

18 Comments:

At 4:58 AM, Blogger dhr said...

some very interesting remark on that picture has been made here.

 
At 6:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Dario, for another enigmatic smile . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez jr. said...

The punishment that Satan undergoes is a humiliating, everlasting death in the lake of fire and sulfur! and some say: Satan will be imprisoned in the lake of fire forever;he will never be released... according to Greek Septuagint,which was well known to John, the related word ''ba'sa-nos'' is used to refer to humiliation that leads to death.- at Ezekiel 32:30-those slain by the sword and will bear their humiliation with those going down the pit; in their terribleness because of their mightiness, ashamed... And my interpretation about ''smile'' represent from God's people or 'new generation'

 
At 1:18 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

There appears to be a eschatological divergence between you and Terrance on this point . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez jr. said...

Yes!we are one vision in God's Prophecy!

Thanks!

Bones

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

One vision, two views. Thanks for the intriguing puzzle . . . a bit like reasoning about the Trinity.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez jr. said...

Yes! we are in Modern Babel with varieties dimension and interpretation that is mystic in ''666 Art World''

Bones
***

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Babel, I understand, for it surrounds me daily here in Korea.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez jr. said...

We got it! its a record reveals we as the human race began to disperse from our offspring:Mesopotamia! they carried with them their memories, ideas, experience, and mystic everywhere they went! and some say that account in Genesis constitute the original! splashing colors from which stemmed the basic ideas about the beginning of man and worship in the varieties dimension of religions of the Babel-World... and we thank you very much for sharing and inspiration despite our world full of mystery but we enjoy searching and wonders!

Bones
* * *

 
At 3:14 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I've read somewhere that "Babel" means "gateway to God" -- but I can't vouch for that.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez jr. said...

You are right! every culture have an opinion that's the way we lived in full of mystery in wisdom... but we bloom and gone... there's no new under the sun...

Bones
* * *

 
At 1:57 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Somewhere over the sunbeam, way up high,
There's a place where the new's found under a blue, blue sky . . .

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez Jr. said...

Some saying not the wisdom of this system under the blue sky nor that of the rulers of this system of things, who are to come to nothing...But we speak God's wisdom in a sacred secret the hidden wisdom which God foreordained before the system for their glory. Somebody they received not the spirit of this world under the blue sky, but the spirit which is from God the beyond myriad galaxies! These things maybe they speak, not with words taught by human wisdom, they combine spiritual matters with spiritual words.

Bones

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You seem to be alluding to some remarks by St. Paul.

He can sometimes sound rather gnostic, can't he?

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez Jr. said...

Yes! its Paul... from place written Ephesus dated:55C.E./ but the spirit from God...and about gnosticism term from worldly wisdom & intellectual its different meaning its seem a part of apostasy its a contradict from spiritual wisdom from the Bible.

Bones

 
At 2:06 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

It sounds something like 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 and 3:19.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 
At 4:01 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez Jr. said...

Yes! you got it! from God's spirit wisdom not from human wisdom... Paul instruments from YHWH God Almighty...

Bones

 
At 5:09 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks for the confirmation.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

 

Post a Comment

<< Home