LETTERPRESS PRINT by DANIEL MITSUI
The iconography of the Last Judgment has long fascinated me; this is the third large depiction of it that I have made. Many different late medieval paintings and prints informed its composition; the influence of Rogier van der Weyden is especially obvious.
Jesus Christ returns on the clouds, seated on a rainbow and surrounded by a mandorla. His feet rest on an orb (with Jerusalem at its exact center), signifying His dominion over the entire world. He displays His five wounds, and the instruments of His passion appear beside Him. A lily at His right hand represents mercy and a sword at His left hand represents justice. Trumpeting angels call the dead to rise from their tombs. The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist kneel to offer intercessory prayer on behalf of those called to judgment.
Below them, St. Michael the Archangel weighs in a balance the good and evil of each man and woman. An angel waits to usher the elect into the doors of paradise, and a demon with a meathook waits to pull the damned into a gaping hellmouth.
I framed the entire scene of the Last Judgment in a septfoil; the number seven signifies completion and appears repeatedly in the Apocalypse of St. John. Surrounding this is a decorative border of fig branches, a reference to Matthew 24.32-33:
And from the fig-tree learn a parable: when the branch thereof is now tender and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Among the fig branches appear the words dies ire, the beginning of Thomas of Celano’s famous sequence (as it was spelled in late medieval Latin):
Dies ire, dies illa,
The letters are composed of folded ribbons. Banderole letters such as these were used for display capitals in the late Middle Ages. I actually created models for the letters out of folded paper, applying methods I learned from my hobby of origami.
Solvet seclum in favilla,
Teste David cum Sibylla!
David and the Eritrean Sibyl, mentioned in the sequence, appear in the bottom corners of the drawing, as two great prophets (one to the Jews, one to the Gentiles) of doomsday.
Medium: Letterpress print, based on an ink drawing
Press: Heidelberg cylinder (Rohner Letterpress, Chicago, IL)
Ink: Albion matte black (Graphic Chemical & Ink, Villa Park, IL)
Paper: Handmade cotton laid (Twinrocker Handmade Paper, Brookston, IN)
Edges: Bottom and left deckle, top and right cut
Edition: Open, approximately 200
Dimensions: 10" × 13 1/3"
The print costs $99. 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 danielmitsuiartist at gmail dot com.
I can color this print by hand, using pigment-based calligraphers’ inks applied with brushes. I use 23k gold leaf and/or palladium leaf for the illuminated details. Please note that the brilliance of the leaf does not show well in the scanned image. Each hand-colored print is unique. The one you receive will not be identical to the one shown here.
The hand-colored print with illuminated details costs $959. 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 danielmitsuiartist at gmail dot com.
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