This print was made for the Mortlake & Co "Ascent Through Descent" exhibition in September 2018. The art show was an event held within the Texts and Traditions Book Fair, an annual gathering of esoteric book sellers and scholars in Seattle.
My inspiration for the composition came to me while studying George Frederic Watts' painting "Psyche" at Tate Britain this past summer. The simple pose is so classic and elegant but alludes to some untold mystery. On screen images do it no justice! I obviously added some details to suit the occasion. The book that she is standing on shows William Blake's "Nebuchadnezzar", a direct reference to the theme of the show. The horned Moses bust is a nod to a very interesting Michelangelo mystery. Moses may have ascended to talk with God but upon descending Sinai he was said to be "horned". Whether it is a translation error or not, Michelangelo's sculpture is one of my favorites. The owl signifies night and knowledge, a clear vision in the darkness. The cobra, skull on its pedestal, and moon assist in illustrating the allegory.
I printed the piece on my Chandler & Price letterpress. The 7 x 10" makes for one of my larger pieces I've attempted.