Daniel Mendelsohn wrote, “The writers we absorb when we’re young bind us to them, sometimes lightly, sometimes with iron. In time, the bonds fall away, but if you look very closely you can sometimes make out the pale white groove of a faded scar, or the telltale chalky red of old rust.” He was describing how Mary Renault’s books and her correspondence with him had influenced his life. He could also have been describing the physical scars of a survivor of lightening strike.
I first read “Fire from Heaven,” and the “The Persian Boy” when I was 15 and Renault cast a literally spell over how I viewed my adolescent world. In many ways the characters and places she described continue to influence how I filter circumstance and the art I create.
The biblical interpretation of “Fire from Heaven” is about sacrifice, (burnt offerings) and retribution. When I created my rust Monotype “Fire from Heaven” shortly after Trump won enough Electoral votes to qualify him for Presidency I admit thinking that fire from heaven (as in burnt offerings) was an appropriate (Karmic) end to those who had conjured him into power (you get what you wish for or deserve) but...
That is not what my image is about; just the opposite. It is instead about an idea or ability; a creative spark, received from an inclusive universe, that has no meaning without an appropriate receptor. It is about the gift and the gifted. It is about exceptional talent received and recognized as a gift from heaven.
Renault was writing about Alexander of Macedon and the seemingly supernatural gifts he was born with. She was also describing gifts of friendship that we seek and that shape the physical form our aspirations take (in particular Alexander’s relationship to friend and lover Hephaestion).
Fire From Heaven is a mixed media rust mono print on antique linen mounted to coped panel.
Link to Daniel Mendelsohn’s article in the The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/07/the-american-boy