Beauty is one of the manifestations of the Absolute Being. Emanating from the harmonious rays of the Divine plan, it crosses the intellectual plane to shine once again across the natural plane, where it darkens into matter.
A powerful but rare characteristic of modern artists is to adapt their own fundamentals into art forms, and so well that observers are dazzled by the creations, for it’s coherent that they’re motivated by a deep, spiritual connection. Belgian theosophist Jean Delville’s work is very symbolic in the way that his paintings are a reflection of stories from the New Testament and Greco-Roman mythology. Like a series of visual oratorios, dozens of these paintings were produced in his lifespan during the Idealist movement. The theory of idealism emphasizes that humans are limited in their perception of reality because reality is fictitious in itself. Knowing the dogma behind Delville, his artwork becomes an exploration of the central cosmos and entities outside of humanity as they are harmonized with themes of divinity and the ethereal.
The two depictions above of Heaven (in “L’homme-dieu”) and Hell (in “Les trésors de satan”) are relatively similar in placement but are contrasting in every other element. Because of how Jesus and Satan are formatted at the same coordinates on the paintings, one can make a clear analysis with Biblical knowledge that both are mirror images of each other yet take on opposite ambiances of character. Delville is playing the role of God in how he has set up Christ and the Devil to be authoritarian roles in the paintings but both divide into two paths like in the stories: Lucifer yearning for the possession of power and Jesus in the quest to sacrifice his strength for God. It is a yin-yang connection and this is visible by the artist’s manipulation of color. Pale shades of eggshell and cyan are indicated for holiness. Embers of green and mahogany in the coral-reef/oceanic setting formulate Hell’s ruin. Followers in the first are lying in mercy for humility and the damned of the second are in a frenzy of lust and immorality. Could these individuals below them be symbolic for the contradictory themes connected to Jesus Christ and the Devil?
Another iconic depiction of symbolism is in his painting, entitled “Prometheus”. This refers to a tale in ancient Greek mythology where Prometheus was a god who created mankind out of clay and then stole the fire of Mount Olympus to provide for the mortals. In the painting above, his figure is shown dashing with the light of creation. Similar to Jean Delville, Prometheus represents the spirit of an inventor and is productive yet prideful of his creations.
However, while there is creation, there must be the presence of death in everything and the artist is very raw in his representation of it. In the painting “La Mort”, a personified entity of death is seen cloaked with blood-stained rags and the face of a vampire. A clock reigns over It’s head like a crown as to say that Death is the ultimate emperor of time. This piece of art is destined to give me nightmares tonight.