Back in March with a batch of “paper dolls” (my mother-in-law’s description of my maquettes) in front of me,I created a composition that I thought might be suitable for a painting. The painting ,to be part of a cycle devoted to the Mayan creation myth, the Popol vuh. Working from the above mentioned composition I set about creating some sketches; discovering I enjoyed certain elements of each, I came up with what is now (for now) a final composition .
The scene depicts the moment in the Underworld Xibalba when the freshly sacrificed Maize God, Hun Hunahpu is placed upon a calabash tree (some interpretations mention the tree as the World Tree-the Axis Mundi). The orthodox depiction of the scene is one in which only his head is placed amongst the branches; as I have a difficult time resisting the full form, I took some liberties. Mayan scholars take heed.
With our hero dangling like strange fruit, the Xibalba princess Xquic searches out this forbidden treasure (sounds familiar?). The Maize God upon encountering the Princess spits into her hand (subtle romantic move on his part) and from this spittle the Hero Twins are miraculously conceived , one more virgin birth in the canon of world mythologies. It is this scene I depict, one where the infant Hero Twins float between their parents; soon the Princess will depart the gloom of the Underworld for the sunshine of the living earth. A new adventure will begin for all of the characters.
The following is a detail of the Maize God,
This is of the Hero Twins, my inspiration was the many early Renaissance depictions of the Annunciation in which the Christ Child is depicted as this wee little babe floating within a nimbus of light.
And at last, the Princess ( with her demonic cousin Ralph).
With that I close, having attempted to depict an epic tale of wrathful demon-gods, a virtuous savior, a virgin birth and heroic infants on a rather limited 20 by 30 inch canvas.
I am now working on a primer, a primer of New Spain. The first letter of course being “A”, will be devoted to the Axis Mundi. So far it looks like it will be handsome.
Until next time,