The Wicked + The Divine: Depiction of Baal in Majesty, AD 2014

Baal’s atrium in Wotan’s Valhalla features a gigantic mural of Baal dressed in an understated black suit and tie. His suit is the only thing understated about his portrait, and I love him for that. The mural is a fresco, pigment painted onto a wet plaster wall. It reaches from vaulted ceiling to floor on a Heroic scale. Baal is the central figure, positioned like a god—which of course he is—attended by archangels and cherubs. At his feet and supplicant are the devil, the Egyptian god Horus, Zeus and another angel. That bearded figure might be “God the Father” but it’s probably Zeus, a lightning god.

Why does it matter that we read the fresco as a painting executed on wet plaster? Because Baal’s wall isn’t decorated by poster art, or by airbrush or any modern technique– it’s Renaissance Art. Baal is positioning himself in a European pantheon. He is showing the lineage between himself and eurocentric culture and he is dominant over it.

He is Baal Haddad, a Canaanite god but painted like this he could also be Zeus or Jesus. Or Yeezus (aka Kanye).

Visit Graphic Policy to read my whole piece about the symbolism of @mckelvie ‘s use of Renaissance Art & comparisons to the contemporary paintings of Kehinde Wiley. 

It’s my nerdiest and most art history driven writing yet. @kierongillen​ seems to agree this is a reasonable use of my time. His work demands this attention so I can’t say no.

I want to thank @gothshostakovich​ for inspiring me to finally write this. Her post about the 1831 special is essential reading. 

PS: Here’s one of Wiley’s masterpiece’s “Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps”. I’m pretty sure Baal owns it.


Very cool. 


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