I can't believe I haven't posted this image before. It's one of my best paintings ever and is a perennial favorite at my deviantART account. Like the character portrait of Severian the executioner and torturer a few days ago, this image is from Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun." It shows Severian, wrapped in his black cape in the lower center of the image, wandering through fantastic ruins.
The fantastic ruins are borrowed from the famous architectural artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, whose engraved views of Roman antiquities have inspired countless artists and romantics over the ages. I am a huge Piranesi fan and found his images of ancient ruins to be a perfect background to Wolfe's story. I added in details from Wolfe's books: the terraformed moon, technological ruins, grotesque stone sculptures, and two towers made from abandoned rocket ships. Those are specifically described by Wolfe. The orange light is from the sun, which has lost a large proportion of its energy. Severian will eventually attempt to bring it back to light.
"Severian on his way" is acrylic and ink on illustration board, 11" x 14", summer 1982. Click on the image for a larger view.