It's Sunday. The pottery studio took a sabbath rest. Apprentices Brandon and Colin started the day fishing. Cadence visited home in Minneapolis. Sunday is Richard's weekend. I had a quiet day to myself finishing the details of the Jonah sculpture. Led Zeppelin seared the speakers for much of the afternoon and big band swing lilts around our ears this evening. Colin is busy preparing this morning's catch for supper.
I have a few ideas for my next piece. St. George slaying the dragon would be a great formal challenge and exciting theme. He's one of those archetypal heros. It's a picture of good vs. evil, bravery, duty, and chivalry. George is the original heroic knight in shining armor saving the damsel in distress. It's not a far leap of imagination to see this as a picture of Jesus saving his bride (the Church) by slaying a vicious serpent. Martin Luther was fascinated with St. George as a boy and even took on his name as a secret identity, "Junker Jorge" when in hiding. As for me, I liked Batman.
Approx. 425 AD. Panel on doors of Basilica of Santa Sabina in Rome.
The Jonah piece is also intended to be read as an allusion to Jesus. The early church used images of Jonah often. Parallels can be drawn. Jonah was pushed overboard (voluntarily), Jesus allowed himself to be betrayed and tortured to death. Jonah speaks of his descent into the depths of the ocean, Jesus of his descent into hell to proclaim his victory. After 3 days, Jonah emerged (was vomited) from the huge fish, after 3 days Jesus walked out of his grave. Jesus himself used Jonah's experience to predict his resurrection, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40). The parallels worked well in a young church for whom crucifixion was still an ugly reality. It wasn't until the 400s AD that an image of Jesus on the cross emerged (according to current archaeology). Even then he just looked like a healthy guy standing in front of a non-crossy structure.
This sculpture presented me with the "Huge Fish" question. Fish? Whale? The distinction is a result of our scientific categorization and language. I did a rudimentary internet browse on the question and saw a few frontrunners-Sperm Whale, Whale Shark, Great White Shark, some other undiscovered sea creature. A Sperm Whale would have been a classic choice. Think "Monstro" in Pinnoccio. I came across an image on the internet of a Whale Shark with it's mouth wide open near a swimmer. Easy fit. I like that the species may cause a little inquiry. I also like that the very name "Whale Shark" blurs the distinction between mammal and fish. It's actually a "Huge Fish".
While I contemplate Jonah in the belly of a fish, I'll put some fish in my own belly.