Details50×26″, oil on panel, 2013
Recipient of Second Place in the Art Renewal Center’s International 2103/2014 ARC Salon, Still Life Category
The inspiration for Israfel came from a poem of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. A single verse of this poem can be found inscribed on the door to the right of the violin – as if lightly penciled by some long ago graffitist.
If I could dwell
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky.
The angel Israfel plays a divine music that is the song of his own heartstrings. Unlike other artists, he relies on no instrument or medium for expression – that which he has to express pours directly forth from its source. The poet laments that, being an earthly mortal, he is limited in his own creative expression: his music will always be corrupted by the imperfect instruments of man. As divine and as true as the inspiration in his heart is, he will never be able to deliver it in its pure and perfect form to the world. Its earthly manifestation will always be a pale echo of the original inspiration.
The canary represents the angel Israfel with his innate ability to create music. The violin is our imperfect instrument on earth. The door forecasts the poet’s eventual passage into the next realm, the one in which he may finally be unlimited in his creative expression like the angel Israfel.