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The New Chi Rho
Digital Art - Ink On Canvas
(Click my name in the upper left corner to see more of my artwork)
The Book of Kells is an illustrated manuscript containing the four gospels, handwritten in Latin, along with some of the finest work of Celtic and sacred art ever created. Made in 800 AD by a group of anonymous monks living on a tiny island just off of Scotland, this priceless book is kept at the "Book of Kells" museum in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Of course 1200 years of wear and tear have left the illustrations faded and worn. So, I decided to bring a new interpretation to the most famous page, in the Book Of Kells, the Chi Rho Page. The big letter that looks like a 'P' with the front part missing is actually the Greek letter 'X' which is pronounced Chi (kye - like kite). The Greek letter 'P' can be seen by looking for a head on it's side. That letter is pronounced Rho (row). Hence the name Chi-Rho. There is an additional letter behind the P and that is the Greek letter 'i' and is called iota (ee-oh-ta). Together XPi is shorthand for the Greek work Kristos or Christ. The artwork contains many symbolic elements and hidden surprises. For instance, the artwork contains many serpents. Back then, snakes were often used as symbols for renewal or resurrection due to shedding of the old skin, like people must shed their old selves and be reborn into a new life. You'll also find angels, cats playing with mice, butterflies, a seahorse, monsters, and women (I bent the rules, there are no women in the original but they just seemed to want to come out) plus other hidden mysteries. Below the painting is a quote taken from the Gospel of John. "In the beginning was the Word..."
This work is so detailed and complex it took me 6 months and 500 hours to complete. It was a very enjoyable and fulfilling project. I highly recommend getting a 15 X 20 inch canvas print, or larger, which truly brings out the details and just looks fantastic. The extra canvas space around the work allows for a canvas wrap around or adding a mat and frame. Thanks for visiting and "Go with God"
December 6th, 2011
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