Home   Paintings   General Paintings   Daniel Watches the King Dream
Daniel Watches the King Dream    oil on canvas 30" X 37"   Read More...
This is the first painting I did after I stopped illustrating children's books. There is, of course, a narrative element, but it's of a different order.

"The Book of Daniel,” is one of the Apocalyptic books of the Old Testament.  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has disturbing dreams. He sees a great tree which reaches to the heavens, sheltering all that lives beneath it. A being descends from heaven and decrees that the tree be destroyed. Only a stump is to be left and its heart changed from a man's to a beast’s.   
Deeply troubled, the king questions the greatest of his wise men, the prophet Daniel, as to its meaning. Daniel hesitates but the king assures him of his willingness to hear the truth. Daniel reveals that the dream warns the king he may be driven from power so he will know there exists a power greater than his own. “Wherefore,” Daniel begs Nebuchadnezzar, “break off thy sins by righteousness and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” 
It would appear that the king takes this advice for the length of a year. But walking in his palace one day, he's struck with the irresistible magnificence of his own royalty. At that very moment, the prophecy of the dream is fulfilled. “And he was driven from men and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws.”   

Apocalyptic images of end-time have always fascinated me. There's a deep romance to them though they're far more beautiful in ancient texts than in life, as I've come to understand. However, I did spend my Grail-reading, drug-taking teenage years waiting for the total upheaval. Like any millennially-fevered, soul-ravaged peasant from the year 999, I was sure it was just around the corner. With the exception of certain genocidal events fueled by visions of purity or paradise that have taken place during my lifetime, it wasn’t. What was around the corner was the total win of international capital.