“Archangels Beheading the Serpent “ was inspired by the Rain Angel figures in Utah. It is large, 48”x48”, and as with most of my work, it is painted with acrylics on handwritten, historic Texas deed documents.
The central figure, Gabriel stands observing as Michael on the lower left uses his sword to behead the serpent…
“Archangels Beheading the Serpent”
Acrylic on handwritten, historical documents glued to canvas
Throughout art history, ecclesiastical paintings have nearly always reflected the current cultural context. For example, in many Renaissance paintings of “The Annunciation”, the visual vocabulary is influenced by the present culture, fashion, and artistic tastes. Mary is often sequestered in a medieval castle wearing period, European dress, hairstyle, and jewelry. The Angel Gabriel is shown wearing elaborate robes that would have been fitting for Dutch royalty. Their pale complexion is more typical of a Flemish or Northern Italian than a Middle Eastern, Hebrew. The “story” is told visually in terms that the audience can relate to. All over the world, throughout history, this is a common approach.
I have been researching a lot of indigenous, prehistoric, desert southwest, pictographs, and petroglyphs. There is a wealth of this kind of art in Texas. But, some amazing figures are called the Rain Angels in Buckhorn Wash—San Rafael Swell, Utah. These three apparently winged creatures do indeed appear to be angels depicted by Indigenous natives, approximately 4,000 years ago.
These figures have intrigued me and inspired me to do a series of paintings using prehistoric art motifs. The visual vocabulary is desert southwest including appropriate colors and symbols.
My recent painting, “Archangels Beheading the Serpent “ was inspired by the Rain Angel figures in Utah. It is large—48”x48”, and as with most of my work, it is painted with acrylics on handwritten, historic Texas deed documents.
The central figure, Gabriel stands observing as Michael on the lower left uses his sword to behead the serpent. The spiral, labyrinth design is common in indigenous art and the serpent is entwined on a cross made of Cholla wood, a cactus plant native to the desert southwest whose recognizable characteristic is a woody skeleton full of holes. The Holy Spirit depicted by the Dove symbol at the top of the painting is a strong presence. The colors and shapes contribute to the story.
The following Biblical passage from Revelations 12 describes the scene the painting loosely portrays:
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world”.
Original Painting by Terry Browder (NOT a Copy)
Acrylic on historic documents glued to canvas.
48" X 48"
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