Tuesday, January 7, 2014

His Eminence

The Roman Catholic clergy, especially the upper ranks, have always inspired artistic types, whether in writing, music, or visual arts. For the visual artist, their colorful garb and vestments, and their rituals, are glorious subjects for drawings and paintings. Roman Catholic Christianity has been the most friendly to the visual arts over the millennia. Therefore to have a Cardinal as a character in a fantasy story is just fine. This imaginary Cardinal of mine was probably the most influential character in my life, since he brought me into Christianity and the Roman church. "His Eminence" is the title given to a Roman Catholic Cardinal.

Looking back through the years in my illustrated journals, Cardinal Acquaviva (that is a real historical Italian name) appears often, usually in his bright scarlet garb. I wrote scads of texts about him and his associates and friends. There was also a fantasy element to him as I wrote in the later years of my connection with him. He might have been the reincarnation of a famous Florentine occultist, Marsilio Ficino, and he might also have been an occult adept and alchemist himself. 

In 1983, after 12 years of association with me, he disappeared. Either he died in his own world, or he finally found the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher's Stone, became immortal, and went on to another plane of existence.

The top image is pencil and watercolor, drawn in 1976.

Here is a front face pencil portrait of him I drew in 1975. The texture partially obscuring the face comes from deteriorated adhesive tape. 

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