Thanks Paul, a great summary of the typical Teniers Temptation of St Anthony painting giving us the conventional explanation and drawing attention to the 'egg painted as a chicken' symbolism.
Surely the symbolic meaning of the egg is resurrection
It is hardly imagineable that Teniers would intend the egg to mean something as profane as "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" in such a religious setting, despite TCP's effort to make this seem possible. In fact looking through Teniers' back catalogue it would seem Alchemists are one of his favorite subjects. Not surprising then that many of his St Anthony paintings show resurrection by alchemical means.
But is that itself symbolism?
Window ledge = In the light.
TCP quite rightly asks about the dove. The dove is taken to symbolise the Holy Spirit. Wikipedia entry here.
Scroll down to 'depiction in Art' and note the link to 'language of the birds'. Interesting.
The parchment clue says Poussin Teniers holds the key. In the Poussin painting the thing held is the staff, ie the staff of life, normally looked on as being bread as in Ezekiel 4:16. [As a side note here, if the whole of Ezekiel Ch4
is read, there are strange parallels with what is happening today. In the Bible, a judgement is taking place; it is Israel
that is being judged. In Ezekiel 4:2, God says "... and cast a mount against it ...". Today, the Israelis see themselves as the judges. The operation mounted by the Israelis against the Palestinians is called "Cast Lead". Lead was the base metal looked on by the alchemists as containing all the impurities that were necessary to be purged.]
In the Teniers painting, the thing held is the glass of water, ie, the water of life.
And what makes what is in the glass, the water of life
? Why, the stuff that has dropped into the water from the poussin, the little chicken, which is bearly out of its egg, the symbol of resurrection.
Resurrection = Life, spiritual life
And what confers spiritual life on us? Yes, Holy Spirit, symbolised by the Dove painted into the cloud (what better place) in Poussin's Et In Arcadia Ego.
And Et in Arcadia Ego takes us to the Underworld and the explanation of the Shugborough inscription.
Everything fits perfectly. The more it is examined, the more connections are made. Nothing is out of place. Every question is answered. It is a Perfect Solution
If the above has not given you goose bumps then this should:
The Plantard 'fake' parchments have been used to give us this clue: Shepherdess Poussin Teniers Hold The Key. In the paintings the key is held
by the figures the artists have painted. The key is life
, spiritual life
symbolised by the staffs - staff of life - bread in the Poussin paintings and by the glasses of 'Holy Spirit' - spirit of life - water in the Teniers.
In the Christian doctrine, spiritual life is assured by Christ's death and resurrection, symbolised by the egg; and everlasting life is assured, brought by the Holy Spirit, symbolised by the dove. It is this same opportunity for everlasting life that is symbolised by the removal of the S, the letter of everlasting death, in the Shugborough inscription. Death is defeated, Life is victorious.
Symbolism is played out in another way in the parchment clue.
We have already seen how Poussin's name is depicted in the poussin in Teniers' paintings. We have seen now how the key, life, is held in the hands of the figures in the work of both artists. It is a coincidence of course that the French verb 'Tenirs' does actually mean 'to hold'.
There are more coincidences. We should not forget the word Shepherdess at the front of the clue. In the Shugborough inscription explanation much store was put on the extract from Virgil's Eclogues originally given to us by 'bergeredearcadie', which translates as 'Arcadian shepherdess'. Sheila too, the one who worked out the Poussin / poussin link and worked out its meaning, is in real-life, a shepherdess. But the biggest coincidence of all is the one who started the Shugborough inscription thread. His forum name is Jean Vie. We must surely all remember enough French to know that Vie = Life.