12.3.14

The Adoration of the Lamb

Here is a meditation on Revelations chapter 4 and 5...
"Write therefore the things which thou hast seen, and which are, and which must be done hereafter..." (Apocalypse 1: 19). In the image below, St. John, the beloved disciple, is seen writing down the vision he describes in Apocalypse chapter 4 through chapter 5 verse 14. St. John watches this scene unfold through the little portal, as a trail of incense sneaks through the opening of the portal from the bowls of incense burning throughout the vision of the throne of God...
The Gregorian chant which I calligraphed is taken from the Introit for the Feast of the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. The text of this chant is taken from Apocalypse 5:12, 1, 6; a gorgeous song of adoration: "The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor; to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever." I chose a 14th century Parisian script for the text.
This song of adoration is sung by the voices of "many angels around the throne" to the lamb "standing as it were slain" and holding the scroll with the seven seals.
Below are some seraphim and cherubim...
Inside the letter "D" for the text of the chant "Dignus est Agnus," one of the 24 elders plays his harp, and his crown is cast down on the ground.
In the four corners of this piece are scenes from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the present. These little scenes offer different viewpoints on Christ as lamb, some being "types" and others being fulfillments. Here are closeups of the four corners. In the upper left, Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac, a "type" of the Lamb of God, while the hand of God in heaven stops him, and a ram is caught in the bushes.
In the upper right corner, Christ's precursor, St. John the Baptist, in pictured in the desert pointing to Christ saying "Behold, the Lamb of God." Christ is pictured here symbolically, in the style of medieval art.
Down in the lower left corner, Christ is pictured as the King of Glory, crucified on the Cross, becoming the true lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Finally, in the lower right corner, a present-day priest elevates the Lamb of God. The Lamb of God is hidden under the appearance of bread, at Mass. This is a fulfillment of the "what is to come" of the Apocalypse, and will be completed perfectly in heaven. The same company of angels which surrounds the Lamb with their song in heaven, mystically surrounds the priest at Mass elevating the host, and this song is echoed in our hearts whenever we kneel in the pews at Mass, adoring Christ.
11"x17" gouache , 24 karat gold leaf, and Japanese Sumi ink on Bristol board.

2 comments:

A.R. Danziger said...

I love all the layers of symbolism working together. There's a lot to take in.

Anonymous said...

Gosh this is stunning!