[Milton-L] JOHN MILTON'S PARADISE LOST - THE GOLD ILLUMINATED
nbcharlton at comcast.net
Thu Dec 17 17:30:50 EST 2009
Thanks so much for the link to the YouTube video. I think you are
rather overemphasising the 24k gold leaf, because the real "gold" lies
in the perceptions incorporated in the artist's concepts.
I jotted down some off-the-cuff observations on my blog:
This is the best since Blake and Doré.
The painter has caught the essential allegory of Book I. For the
majority of the world who do not share my enthusiasm for Milton's
epics, Paradise Lost is a retelling of the first three chapters of
Genesis, filling out the details and sweeping under it all of what
Alexander Pope invited his readers to "expatiate free" about.
[Note: my blog is titled "Expatiate Free!"]
Note the huge, naturalistic--almost photographic--eye that
represents The Word. It is present in every panel of the scroll,
but for all its realism its details are quite Egyptian in form and
reminiscent of the All-Seeing Eye that dominates the Masonic-derived
image on the one-dollar bill from the top of the pyramid. But there
are plenty of counterfeits of The Word also, the eyes that occupy
the whole heads of many of the creatures. It made me ask 'What is
the opposite of the Word, the Truth? Obviously, the lie that is the
truth of Satan the rebel, the destroyer who destroys for the sake of
destroying.' As a story, Milton's verse is so compelling that you
want to know the ending, even if you already know what it is. But
is it a necessary outcome?
I was first struck by the similarity, even identity, of detail in
the tees, the vines, the branches in the first details we see, and
no surprise, it morphs into the scales of the serpent.
The council of Pandemonium contains angels who look much like
contemporary demons, and it's no joke just what Satan and his rebel
angels may have morphed into. That is the value and the delight of
allegory: to hold up the mirror to nature by identifying qualities
that are so complete in the personification in essences and personae
not of our direct experience as to give us back an image of our own
collective and individual mind.
As I sat here watching the YouTube video, I had to read the printed
text aloud, with great fervor, and it shivered me like a great peal
of organ music that vibrates through your seat. This has
extraordinary power. Are you up for it?
Best Christmas/ Hanukkah and any other holidays being observed,
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