FOUR LAST THINGS
DRAWING by DANIEL MITSUI
This is an ink drawing on a 4" × 6" piece of calfskin vellum. I drew it using fine-tipped black and red pens.
The original was created on private commission.
The four panels in the drawing represent the four last things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. The panel for Death is based on illustrations from the Ars Moriendi. Death, in the form of a skeleton, is poised to strike a sickly, bedridden man with his arrow. A priest confessor hands the dying man a lit candle, while an angel and a demon wait on the besdposts to make claim on the man’s soul.
In the panel for Judgment, Christ is seated on a rainbow, surrounded by clouds. His feet rest on an orb, and He displays His wounds. A lily and a sword respectively represent the Hand of Mercy and the Hand of Justice. Angels blow trumpets calling the dead to rise from their tombs and come to judgment.
The panel for Heaven shows the Mystical Lamb standing on an altar and filling a chalice with His blood. Adoring angels sit before Him, holding musical instruments.
The panel for Hell shows Satan with three damned souls stuffed in his mouth. In a grotesque detail borrowed from an anonymous 15th century French panel painting, he is enthroned on a primitive toilet, and reprobate souls are imprisoned in the pot beneath it. Following a common medieval convention for depicting devils, he has two faces: one on his head and one on his belly.
The text is from the 12th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew:
Ex verbis enim tuis iustificaberis et ex verbis tuis condemnaberis.
The skull, bones and astronomical clock in the middle of the drawing are traditional memento mori emblems: reminders of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
I modified the colors when creating the print file (which is shown on this page); those on the original drawing are different.
An open-edition giclée print of this drawing is available for $23. You may use the button below to pay via PayPal, debit card or credit card. Be sure to confirm the shipping address.
See this page for additional ordering instructions and general information. If you want to pay via a check or money order, please e-mail me at danmitsui [at] hotmail [dot] com.