"Divine Vision" (Diptych)
Mische Technique on masonite
40" x 60", 2009
Click here to see a larger image of the left side.
Click here to see a larger image of the right side.
Miguel Tio’s Divinely Inspired Divine Vision
By Kevin Wallace
Divine Vision by artist Miguel Tio is a metaphoric interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s literary masterpiece Divine Comedy. It is expressed as a figurative drama played out across a magical realist landscape, infused with penetrating surrealist elements, and delivering a powerful spiritual message that transcends the canvas, leaving an indelible impression on the viewer.
Miguel Tio has fittingly chosen to present this homage to Dante in the form of a highly compelling diptych. The realm of the inferno is portrayed upon a dark and dramatic precipice in the foreground on the right panel of the diptych, whereas the heavens are shown in the distance as an ethereal mountain range on the left panel. Purgatory is shown in the center, as a lower plateau between the two contrasting mountains.
The most compelling element of this painting, to which we are instantly drawn, is its central figure, the radiant and powerful archangel Michael. Miguel portrays the archangel as emanating a blue ethereal light, as he speeds toward the dark realm of the inferno to intervene by rescuing a soul who is about to be dropped over the edge of a cliff. With one hand wielding a glowing mystical sword, and the other hand outstretched to the soul hanging on for life, we feel the urgency and power of the moment that Miguel asks us to focus on.
Ominously hovering in the distance over the heavenly realm is a vast luminous cloud that draws our attention as a powerful source of divine energy. This glowing cloud appears to be comprised of an infinite flock of brilliant angels encircling the mountain. The immense cloud of energy is also emitting several rays of colored light upon a group of cities along the mountain range.
Back in the inferno landscape, Miguel vividly conveys the pain of suffering souls amid jagged cliffs, as physically expressed through their lecherous and predatory interactions, as well as by the expressions of horrified onlookers. To convey the low-vibrational, heavy-burdened, and “earthbound” state of these souls who are attached to the material world, Miguel shows some of them as half-buried into the scarped mountain, and some of whom have turned into splintered stone. The entire inferno realm seems as though it is symbolically emerging from a rock sculpture of Dante’s head that is cleverly ingrained into the mountainside.
Miguel also intrigues us with his depiction of purgatory - a place where there are different levels of pain and reflection. Many of the figures we see on this plateau are gazing into the distance at the heavenly realm, clearly the promised land that each of these souls is longing to reach.
Finally, Mr. Tio also shows us the Acheron, one of the five rivers of the underworld in Greek mythology, also known as the river of pain. He displays this river as the barrier between paradise and the realms of purgatory and inferno. And though this river has often been associated as a place of punishment for sins, Miguel notes that he views it instead as a place of healing, cleansing, and purging of the soul.
Divine Vision evokes our own inner experience when we attune ourselves to the spiritual message it so uniquely conveys. It is we who are the figures in purgatory longing to reach that heavenly horizon. It is we who are hanging precariously off the edge of a cliff. Though most importantly, it is we who walk away with a meaningful “healing, cleansing and purging” of our own spiritual life, thanks to the validation that Divine Vision communicates.
And just like the luminous archangel Michael, Miguel Tio swoops forth to illuminate a new pathway for us, with the substance, breadth, and message of his creative work. With his paintbrush as a mystical sword, he cuts away the classical and commonplace interpretations of Dante that we’ve seen before, and gives us a fresh and enlightened new vision of a universal timeless masterpiece.
It is a divinely inspired masterpiece all its own.
Copyright © by Miguel Tió