Rome and us

Monday, February 16th, 2009 @ 6:07 am | About My Art, Abstract Art

A new painting has been added and can be seen here.

In this painting I was asking myself the question: “What would a contemporary Messiah look like?”. Of course, it needn’t be a woman (like in the painting), but it could be…

This is the second time I’m referring to Catholicism (also see my Pope painting). This is because of the way Catholicism is interwoven with World history and the influence Catholic iconography still has on human culture, not just on believers, but on the entire world. Also, deciphering Catholic iconography leads to important insights into the human psyche, something I will not get into in the literary sense, but I will leave the painting up to your interpretation.

It’s important to note, however, that Christianity in its present form, and certainly in its iconography, is to a significant degree a Roman construct. In my view Christianity is a post-Roman phenomenon, in that it succeeded the Roman empire, in part renouncing it, in part continuing its culture.

The “post-something” part is meant to say that the post-something era is both a break with, and a continuation of, the “something-era”. It’s an era of transition, in which the doctrines of the “something-era” have lost their dominance, but are used as a basis for a new school of thought.

I assume the Christian era to have come to an end during the “Fin de Siècle”, at the end of the 19th century, when the West’s intellectual elite lost its faith, a development which came to the masses during the 1960s. So today we find ourselves in the post-Christian era, in which Christianity is no longer dominant, but continues to be of cultural influence.
One striking feature in both the Fin de Siècle and the 1960s is the emergence of a culture that refers back to paganism, a set of pre-Christian belief systems. Both the Roman Empire and Christianity had always suppressed paganism, so there is a certain logic to the reemergence of paganism in the post-Christian era. Examples of this are the 1960’s hippie culture, but also, and perhaps most clearly, the house music scene of the 1990s, which can been seen as an Africanized version of paganism.

My painting is, as I see it, a contemporary, secular view on Christianity, with an emphasis on the latter’s Roman roots.

Leave a Reply