I just found another Pre-Raphaelite painter whose name I didn’t know but who made some works which I recognize. The paintings shown in this post are ones I don’t recall having seen before. Compared to some of the other Pre-Raphaelites, his work seems centered more on portraits and accounts from the Bible. His name is John Everett Millais, and he was evidently quite popular during his lifetime.
The Return of the Dove to the Ark (1851). This is taken from the account of Noah and the Ark from the book of Genesis.
Victory O Lord! (1871). This is from the account of a battle in which the priests needed to keep the hands of Moses aloft during the Exodus of the Hebrew nation.
The Tribe of Benjamin Seizing the Daughters of Shiloh (1847). This event comes at the end of perhaps one of the most disturbing stories in the Bible. It is found in the book of Judges. The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart. Then again, it is.
Esther (1865). From the book of Esther, this evidently shows her preparing to go into the king of the Medes and Persians to plead for the lives of the Jews in captivity.
Christ in the House of His Parents (1850).
This week’s entry from (or, as you will see, into) the Astro City universe is the Pale Horseman.
He is a spectral character whose imagery is somewhat reminiscent of Ghost Rider from the Marvel universe, but their back stories are quite different.
Like something out of the book of Revelation in the Bible, he comes riding through an interdimensional rift to invade Astro City in The Dark Age series. He rides on a skeletal horse surrounded by fire as they gallop through the air and up the sides of buildings.
Invisible except for the hooded cloak he wears, the Pale Horseman seeks out transgressors and eradicates them in shafts of fire. His bent toward retribution is one more similarity he shares with the Ghost Rider. The main problem is that his judgment of sin is not tempered with mercy. He indiscriminately punishes the smallest offenses along with the greatest. There is no chance for rehabilitation of the offenders. There are no second chances.
I am intrigued by this character because he has the citizenry of Astro City questioning their own motives and actions. Everyone becomes paranoid and aware of his or her own faults until the inner beast is unleashed in all. Christians and philosophers alike can reflect on what this says about human nature and the fallibility of both saint and sinner. When it comes to assessing ourselves and others, where do we draw the line of distinction? Is it valid to draw it at all? My father used the term, “purity barriers” to describe the criteria by which we try to elevate ourselves above others, and Jesus warned against judging the faults of our neighbors while ignoring our own.
Let me conclude by quoting a common saying:
“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”