The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Artwork details: pencil, platinum and gold leaf, 30 x 23 inches (76 x 58 cm), 2007.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - whole picture
This drawing was done for an exhibition to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of artist, visionary and poet William Blake, put together by Gallery Eight in Glastonbury for 22nd November - 2nd December 2007
The initial starting point was the title of William Blake's 'prophetic' book "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell". Blake rejected the established church, though not religion per se, seeing rather the church's views of 'evil' and the Devil as the imaginative, creative drive which the church would control and suppress. As Blake's 'voice of the Devil' declares: "those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained".
So this drawing started as a kind of 'reconciliation' between Heaven and Hell, but its main subject is the anger, horror, alarm and confusion of the 'good' church-goers whose world is undermined because they no-longer have an enemy they can blame and rant against. There are outbreaks of violence, religious fervor, occasional nudity and general chaos...
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - detail
The three-part design and the use of precious metals was inspired by an idea that it should be reminiscent of something like an altarpiece. Foolishly and at a not inconsiderable cost (almost 4 times the price of gold leaf in fact) I bought a book of platinum leaf, largely on a whim because I had wanted to try platinum leaf on something, and it seemed a picture worthy of the extra expense.... Never again!!!.... I trained and worked for several years as a jeweller, before taking to painting, and I should have known better (having spent more than 4 years making jewellery in this unforgiving metal). The final result was good, but there will be no series of 'platinum fairies', sorry! (except maybe a few to use the remaining sheets of the stuff...).
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