Plate 41, returning to the Desert of Tears

I find myself wandering creatively , not always a positive place to be in, especially if one feels lost. I feel a bit lost.

In poring over files I stumbled upon a bit of text I hadn’t recognized, yet I felt it perfectly evoked how I create, the random layering of pattern, image, reference . But who wrote it? After a bit of sleuthing through further files I discovered I’d written it. First questioning the state of my memory I was pleased I had saved this snippet. I will have to review it more closely  but I feel upon initial reading  it will easily integrate into a project I’d set aside, Saint Anthony & the Desert of Tears.

The mystery text follows:

Saint Anthony and the Desert of Tears

Once in a land of overripe fruit a fair young man  realized  he had his fill.

This realm of weariness overcame him, his joys soured, the jams curdled, the birds no longer sang; his  morning daemons stayed for tea.

He tossed aside his pretty things. His brocaded grass of green  cope caterpillar velvet plush  a cocoon of  downy miniver; his linen smock that butterfluttered embroidery ever so clever with fleas  centipedes and  mites, his coif that glittered metallic verdure as pompously  as the proud  Junebug, these , his treasures, his jewels, his bedazzlements he tossed aside; hair pantaloons would have to do.

Of delicacies he had no stomach, crepes as light as seraphim breath sat heavy as unctuous fog, gentle honeysuckle dew gathered with fairy care he could not bear; rook tossed spelten loaf would have to do.

His chambers swaddled in diapered  tapestry and  brocaded opal plush,  carpets as tender as mole moss ached his swollen sole and tormented flesh, bone and marrow; he must breath to gulp the word , the desert cave would have to do.

With staff and skull young Anthony set forth sandward.

Farewell fair Egyptland.

Artist as Daemon
Tuscon AZ
Christmas Day, 2017

So I’ve decided to return to my St.Anthony project , illustrating/illuminating St.Athanasius’ account of the third century desert father, Anthony/Antony. I randomly turned to verse 41:

Plate 41
“Life of St.Anthony”,
graphite, colored pencil, gouache on toned paper
12 by 9 inches 

This passage, 41, features a woeful , self pitying Satan confronting a monk  (not clear if it is Anthony ) , bemoaning being misunderstood. It felt a natural place to return .

The passage follows :

41. “And since I have become a fool in detailing these things, receive this also as an aid to your safety and fearlessness; and believe me for I do not lie. Once some one knocked at the door of my cell, and going forth I saw one who seemed of great size and tall. Then when I enquired, “Who are you?” he said, “I am Satan ” Then when I said, “Why are you here?” he answered, “Why do the monks and all other Christians blame me undeservedly? Why do they curse me hourly?” Then I answered, “Wherefore do you trouble them?” He said, “I am not he who troubles them, but they trouble themselves, for I have become weak. Have they not read ,” “The swords of the enemy have come to an end, and you have destroyed the cities?” “I have no longer a place, a weapon, a city. The Christians are spread everywhere, and at length even the desert is filled with monks . Let them take heed to themselves, and let them not curse me undeservedly.” Then I marvelled at the grace of the Lord, and said to him:
“You who art ever a liar and never speakest the truth , this at length, even against your will, you have truly
spoken. For the coming of Christ has made you weak, and He has cast you down and stripped you.”
But he having heard the Saviour’s name, and not being able to bear the burning from it, vanished.”

Now onto other plates.

Plate 41
“Life of St.Anthony”,
graphite, colored pencil, gouache on toned paper
12 by 9 inches




Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

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