H

This is the sketch from Saturday started in St Joseph’s church in Duddeston looking across graveyards to the brewery as evening fell.  Since then I re-suspended that first layer in wet white gouache and let this dry overnight.  The next evening I drew back into this with a further layer of chalk and gouache.

2016-01-26 21.26.33

The sculpted cross nearest me bore the inscription IHS.  This turns out to be a christogram, a westernised translation of the first three letters iota-eta-sigma of the word IHΣΟΥΣ, “Jesus”.  When looking this up, I found these three letters came also to stand for Iesus Hominum Salvator, meaning Jesus, saviour of men.  The newly acquired meaning is called a backronym.  I and J are interchangeable in the Latin alphabet.  The letter Σ can be written in its lunate form C.  From this comes IHC, or JHC, by which route the Christian saviour acquired, in popular parlance, his middle initial.

19 responses to “H

    • A good thing about art blogging is the comments make me think anew about what I created. You are right. This is about mysteries. Beneath those stone markers lie what were people, slowly transforming to soil. Across the road, in those ugly tanks, apple juice ferments to cider. Though written In stone, language and thought warps and twists from Greek through Latin and Medieval English, and through the shifting sands of religious belief. The flat grey sky conceals turbulent currents of air.
      But perhaps we make mysteries where there are none. To quote TS Elliott:
      Birth, and copulation, and death.
      That’s all the facts when you come to brass tacks:
      Birth, and copulation, and death.
      I’ve been born, and once is enough.
      You dont remember, but I remember,
      Once is enough.

    • As I was reading up on this it suddenly dawned on me, like when you see the punchline coming before the end of the joke. It made me laugh out loud when I found it really was true.

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