Fresco, 11” x 14”, 2000 $1600
This fresco is after the archangel Uriel as depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Virgin of the Rocks, which is my absolute favorite painting and highly influential on my art. I have been privileged enough to stand before both original versions of this painting – first in London at the National Gallery and three years later, I stood in the Louve in Paris and drew the head of the virgin from the first, edgier version of this painting.
I created this fresco in 2000, after returning from a year studying art and art history in the enchanting city of Florence, Italy. But it wasn’t until 2004, when I reading about the symbolism in da Vinci’s painting The Virgin of the Rocks that I discovered that this particular angel was a depiction of the archangel Uriel, who represents intellect, memory, forgiveness, and finding your path in life, particularly in terms of being of service to others. Several days later, my friend Kris, who had been trained in Doreen Virtue’s system of tarot card readings, was giving me a brief reading of only three cards. One of the cards I pulled was Uriel! The radio was playing, and suddenly, my friend laughed and pointed out that the song “Calling All Angels” by Train was had come on while we were in the midst of the reading. To me it was just the Universe’s sense of humor and a sign of reassurance that all was meant to be as it was in that moment. It also pointed out to me to pay careful attention to my reading. Pulling the card for Uriel, Kris explained to me, meant that this time in my life was focused on work, intellect, and figuring out how I was meant to be of service – all topics that were quite prominent in my life and on my mind at the time.
Two days later, I was at a training for the painters’ union with my fellow apprentice painters and we were assigned to break into groups of three to practice our technique. My group consisted of one painter I was already friends with, and one I had not met yet. We got to talking while working and I found his presence very serene and sweet –he was just 18 and had graduated from high school, and gushingly showed me a picture of his high school sweetheart, who he had just taken to prom; the girl in the photo was just lovely and had a halo of light around her. I introduced myself and asked his name and he finally introduced himself – his name was Uriel! I had never met anyone of that name before or since. To me, it was just another nod from the Universe that all was as it was meant to be.
Uriel, in this painting, is an indicator of Source, of mystery, of the awed hush one feels standing before the beautiful and divinely incomprehensible, the mystical. Uriel sweetly gazes, calmly, as he is the messenger and reminds us; look into the unknown, be brave, be aware, do not fear, but embrace, divine mystery. Although I say ‘he” the whole painting of the Virgin of the Rocks by da Vinci exudes energy of the divine feminine, so I interpreted Uriel as a more feminine being, soft, almost translucent, glowing, with deep and tender eyes that represent the compassion, forgiving, and loving spirit of angels.