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Posts tagged ‘Orvieto Cathedral’

Norms in Heaven and Norms in Hell

Back in 2005/6 when the Norms were born, my Norm-riddled imagination went all Last Judgment on me, and a diptych with all the foreboding power of the archetypal Renaissance altar-piece was the imploding result: Norms in Heaven and Norms in Hell.

Norms in Heaven (acrylic on canvas, 2005 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Norms in Heaven features 10 serene angels, floating amidst fair-weather clouds, radiant in their angelic glory, relishing in the celestial music flowing from the golden instruments of three, while for two, the propagation of love is their priority, one one-handed Norm angel holding cupid’s bow, while the other helps to pull back the arrow in readyness for its launch into Elysium. However, even in this scene of paradise, there is always a foreboding reminder of what awaits those whose sins make them unworthy for the great pleasures of this joyful nirvana… the gateway to hell, guarded in all his intrusiveness redness by a demon Norm, a portentous warning of the visions of horror awaiting the viewer in the second half of the diptych…

Norms in Hell (acrylic on canvas, 2006 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

For its audience of innocent little earthly Norms, Norms in Hell would be a shocking warning of the fate that awaits those who do not behave. For those Norms whose sins have necessitated a descent into the abyss, their arrival is through a rubbish shoot where their dead, rotten souls pile up in a New Arrivals skip. From there, demon Norms, eager to torture their newly arrived victims, spear the Norms through their side, before awakening their souls to a life of eternal damnation. Thereafter they will be subjected to the most terrifying of horrors, such as the scene of flogging on the left, being hanged from a column and left to roast in the fires of hell, or being caged up only to await an audience with Satan Norm himself, whose punishments deal the deepest and most appalling blows of all. Meanwhile the scene is dramatically lit by the glow of a lava river flowing behind, while on the other side of this burning deluge, further damned souls can be seen in their torment, behind bars, awaiting further retribution for their depraved and iniquitous lives.

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