Blackpaint 44

Chaldon Church (of St Peter and St Paul)

In Happy Valley, near Coulsdon South.  It has an amazing 12th century mural, done, apparently by an itinerant monk (shades of Andrei Rublev) and uncovered in the 19th century when whitewash was removed.  It is a sort of brownish red and white, and consisits of four sections with a ladder running up the middle and a line of “cloud” dividing the upper two from the lower.  Huge demons are doing various nasty things to sinners, who are dodgy tradesmen (walking a spiked bridge) and representatives of the Seven Deadly Sins.  On the left, a demon is boiling souls in a cauldron.  Up top, the Archangel Michael is holding the scales to weigh souls, while the devil has his hand on them, trying to weigh them down.  Next door, Christ is thrusting a staff(?) into a prostrate Devil’s mouth (all action is taking place simultaneously, like those mediaeval Crucifixion scenes, or Lives of the Saints).  A host of souls are climbing or falling from the ladder.  There is a Tree of Life in the right panels with a serpent in the branches – and much more.

I’ve never seen anything in a similar style – the demons are like something out of Von Danniken – remember him? – and I can only compare its strangeness to that of the Shobdon Tympanum (see Blackpaint 17).

Does anyone know why Michael is a saint?  He’s an archangel, a supernatural being, whereas all the others, I think, were human, martyrs for instance.

Van Gogh

On TV last night, I heard that VG completed 78 paintings in two months, towards the time of his death.  78 paintings in about 60 days…

Listening to Dick Gaughan, the John Maclean March from “No More Forever”.

“Och Aye man, that’s Johnnie noo

That’s him there, the bonnie fechter,

Lenin’s his fair lad and Leibknecht’s his mate”.



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