Or had a dream, rather. I know, I know, listening to people’s dreams is for most of us an exercise in unbridled tedium, but bear with me. A) there’s art at the end, and B) this is a vital work avoidance for me, because once I finish typing this, I have to go paint my Christmas card for this year, which will feature an anteater wrapped in Christmas lights, and which I’m avoiding because sending out Christmas cards is one of the many signs that my husband and I are getting old and normal.
So anyway, I had this dream.
It started out normal enough–trying to drive my grandmother’s elderly Crown Victoria up a 45 degree slope to a Taco Bell drive through while people shoved photos of dead foxes through the windows. (For me, this is so normal as to be beneath notice.) Then there was a segue. The best way that I can describe this is that it was rather like the THX stereo sequence in a movie–a kind of whomwhomwhom “Enough of the previews, this is the Main Event, SO PAY ATTENTION.” whooooommmmmmmm! moment.
Then I found myself in a museum. It was panelled in dark hardwoods, multiple stories, and after walking up several flights of stairs, I ran into the curator. He was probably a nice guy, but I didn’t get much chance to find out, because he had a heart attack immediately upon my arrival.
Being me, I first attempted to resucitate him, and when that failed, I went through his pockets and took his keys. Then I went to a particular room in the museum, used the keys to unlock the door, and found…a painting.
It was a hell of a painting. Literally. It was Hell, rendered with the sculptural lighting and somewhat lackadaisical perspective of the older Old Masters, and it was incredible. I stood in front of it and went “Holy crap, this is amazing!”
To the left was Satan, looking like Michelangelo’s David, (Y’know…nude, chiselled, classical…) with some kind of head covering occluding his eyes. In front of his legs, and twisting through the painting was a large serpentine form, and off to the right was a tableaux of three white goat demons, wearing seriously industrial black iron armor and holding swords. The background was a huge vaulted cavern with interlocking hills, over which cavorted the standard Boschian demonic array.
The placard next to the painting said that it was by “Alber Lentree” and was a 12th century French woodcut, which was patent nonsense, because nobody in the 12th century was kicking out art like that, and anyway, it was an oil painting. I went through the curator’s files like a lunatic, trying to find information about this incredible painting, but other than an alternate spelling of “Elber Lentree” I had no luck. Then I thought, “I’ll go on the internet!” and found the curator’s computer, which included this keyboard.
The best that I can explain was that I have been reading too much steampunk lately, because this was a Victorian keyboard. It was ornate and had brass curlicues and the individual letter and number keys were round silver wafers, rather like the ornate metal keys on a clarinet. I spent entirely too much time staring at the keyboard that I should have spent staring at the painting, because to my horror, I woke up right then and could not for the life of me remember the important bits of the painting, such as what Satan had been doing, or what the serpentine form had been. I lunged out’ve bed, startling my husband (who was only doing his job waking me up from a nap) and scribbled down the only bits I could remember, which was mostly the tableaux of goat demons.
There’s no “Alber Lentree” or variant on Google, but I hadn’t expected one. I drew the tableaux as best I could, (I thought it took about twenty minutes, it actually took closer to two hours, but fortunately my husband considers creative fits like this normal, and kindly did the dishes and made dinner so that I could proceed without interuption) and and started painting.
It’s a complicated scene, and I probably won’t be done for another week or so–and to my despair, robbed of context, it looks more like an Iron Maiden album cover in the dorky Pseudo-Satanic style–but not painting it never occurred to me as an option. Painting things from your dreams is considered pretty cornball in the fine art world, I know, (unless you’re a card-carrying Surrealist) but that’s why I’m a non-fine-artist–I can paint flowers and sunsets and happy fuzzy bunnies and, well, demonic entities from paintings in my dreams if I want to, damnit.
Here’s a detail of one of the goat guys, in case anyone’s interested.
And that’s my weird dream story for the day.
It occurs to me that I should mention a cool tidbit in relation to this–a buddy of mine on IM recommended “La Son Del Diovolo” or “The Devil’s Sonata” a bit of violin music evidentally inspired when the creator, Tartini, had a dream in which he’d made a pact with Satan, handed him a violin, whereupon that hooved gentleman played a “sonata so unusual and so beautiful, performed with such mastery and intelligence, on a level I had never before conceived was possible!” Tartini woke up and immediately wrote down as much of it as he could, but of course could not recapture the music in his dream, although what he did get down was impressive.
That probably means something significant about art, Satan, or dreams, or maybe all three, but damned if I know what (particularly since I have my doubts that one of ’em, at least, exists.)