Below is another highly important plate from my elephant folio that speaks to Satan’s creative genius and honors the arts (especially Bienvenido “Bones” Banez, Jr.): PANDEMONIUM
In this plate we come fully to recognize the remarkable elements of Satan’s character. He creates worlds ex nihilo, like God Himself! Other archangels do not do this! He invents Sin and engenders Death!
In the bottom border panel Satan sings to the opening bars of Monteverdi’s Orpheus (in Hades) Act 2 in creating Pandemonium. The opening song begins “She sleepeth, but she will waken.” Satan’s city sleeps as potential in his teeming mind, his vision of a grand new world, but Satan is awakening Her by his act of creation, making Her actual. She (Pandemonium) rises “…like an exultation to the sound of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet, built like a temple.”
This plate celebrates the arts as found in the building of a city or a new civilization, as Satan is doing here. This plate is a tribute to architecture, construction, sculpture, painting, etc. Note that the Seraphim ????????? in the upper corners have paintbrushes in one hand and flames in the other. They are painting with fire. Fire, the tools of Satan in hell, is the creative force of the universe. From the first explosion of the big bang it has been worlds created out of magnificent expanding fire. God wrote the Ten Commandments with His finger in fire.
You may notice by now that every plate celebrates some heroic or creative act of Satan and of his tragedy in trying to achieve the impossible, id est, exclusive love of God and the next step of ambition… supremacy over God. That is the story of Paradise Lost. Now Man too, through pursuit of knowledge attempts to master the universe, as Satan would master heaven.
One of my artist friends, Bienvenido “Bones” Banez, Jr. discovered my philosophy of surrealism and my interest in Paradise Lost and recognized an absolute parallel in our thinking. One of his many remarkable ideas is that “Satan gives color to the world.” Indeed, what a dreary world if everything were nice, sweet, and beautiful. We would soon go bonkers. Man struggles and finds meaning in the struggles. He writes operas and stories about the struggles of love, treachery and war and paints pictures of it. Do we not find Satan’s struggle in Paradise Lost more colorful than anything in Paradise Regained. Yes, Satan excites our imagination…he causes many of our struggles and on so doing gives color to the world!
I have especially honored Bienvenido in this plate by writing his name on the artists palette at the very top, the palette of flaming colors.