I completed this 23×30 Apocalypse in egg tempera at the end of 2013.
Originally posted on my facebook page, the different descriptions are presented here in full.
This work is divided into three conjoined paintings, each depicting a different state: heaven, earth, and hell. The first painting (top) shows Christ as the image of the Father in Heaven. He is surrounded by the New Jerusalem at the top right and left, the 24 elders on either side, and the four living creatures. He is head of the Trinity, whose other two Persons are represented in the second painting.
The second state, Earth, is separated from the first by clouds. The Church on Earth is depicted with Christ, the Lamb of God on an altar, and the Holy Spirit, represented as the seven lampstands and active in the faithful as tongues of fire. Mary, the mother of the church holds the Christ Child aloft as St. Michael fends off the great red dragon. The members of the Body, the Church, are below on earth in pilgrimage. St. John, the writer of the Book of the Apocalypse peers in through the frame as before him the earth devolves into the netherworld.
The third painting depicts the state of hell, and features the diabolical parody of the Trinity with whom heaven battles. The dragon, being the chief of the devils, parodies God the Father. The leopard-like first beast at the bottom is a parody of the Lamb because of the wound from which he recovered and his association with a woman. The second beast parodies the Holy Spirit, because he seals the foreheads of the damned with his own symbol. In the midst of the trio sits the whore of Babylon, the unholy counterpart to the holiness of Mary. She offers the blood of martyrs for drunkenness instead of the blood of Christ.
The book of Apocalypse begins with St. John, the narrator who looks in from outside the frame. Dressed as a pilgrim, he beholds all that happens in the Apocalypse.
Christ is the image of the Father, so in this image the Ancient of Days from the book of the Apocalypse has a cruciform halo. From his throne proceeds lightnings, voices, and thunder and He is encircled by a mandorla, like the other two Persons of the Trinity. He is surrounded by the four living creatures, round about full of eyes. On either end are the 24 ancients and the New Jerusalem.
The dragon of the book of the Apocalypse is a parody of God the Father and commands the attack on the Church. The woman of the Apocalypse and members of the Church on earth are attacked by the dragon, but St. Michael and his angels fight back.
The woman of the Apocalypse, clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars, is often identified as Mary. She holds the Christ Child aloft, who identifies Himself as the Lamb of God shown to the left. As Mother and sign of the Church, she is in the midst of the Trinity, in the midst of the Triune God’s plan for humanity.
Christ is the Lamb of God whose Blood is poured out upon the altar of sacrifice. In the Book of the Apocalypse He is worshiped by the faithful as the One worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.
The first beast in the Apocalypse is a demonic parody of the Lamb of God. One of its heads was slain to death and recovered, causing wonder among those on earth. This beast is associated with the whore of Babylon, as the Lamb of God is associated with Mary. The whore is drunk off the blood of martyrs, and represents the devil’s response to Mary.
One of the ways the Holy Spirit is represented in the Apocalypse is as seven golden candlesticks. These are surrounded by the green mandorla as are the other persons of the Trinity. The work of the spirit among the faithful is shown as they are marked with tongues of fire.
The second beast of the Apocalypse is a demonic parody of the Holy Spirit. It too marks people and is a sort of ‘propaganda minister’ for the first beast. The members of the demonic trio injure each other, showing their true nature.