In all three of these Semitic religions there is a smell of sulphur in the air as well as perfume. All three believe in an end time characterised by violence, rapine, war, famine. Each of these family branches anticipate a violent future. Some of them look forward to a violent future, for for them it was the moment of rapture,
In this part of the painting I am representing a common thread in all three in welcoming a rapturous event when the ‘good’ are caught up to God.
At the same time the bad and the damned are cast down into darkness.
Listening to the news this last week has been good stimulus for these armageddon paintings.
What began as a medieval chasm into which the tormented souls were cast, I find myself painting towers burning and collapsing, and everywhere there are falling people.
I was once invited to a meeting of evangelical christians to hear a converted Jewess from the cathartic movement in Israel speak about her take on the world. She described the end of the world as occurring during a nuclear exchange. It was a chilly thing to hear.
On the other hand i’ve always enjoyed painting dramatic events. I remember engulfing Barmouth in a simultaneous tsunami and mud slide, probably in a period of pique. I am reminded of the paintings by ‘mad John Martin’ who specialised in extravogent (they have to be) paints of the apocalypse, one of which was in the news recently after being restored from a terrible flood.
I was brought up on these eschatological predictions, and mingled with extreme believers in my formative years. When most of my peers were listening to pop music I was singing hymns, and jolly good ones they were/ are.
Hell fire was almost casually preached at all our meetings. When you are in a world of believers, it is easy to believe in anything provided everyone else does. It is like a form of mesmerism.