Ecstatic Enlightenment… The esoteric paintings of Jean Delville
Born in Belgium in 1867, Jean Delville’s captivating occult paintings are reminiscent of my favorite painter, William Blake. There is a feeling of mystery and rapture that radiates from his work, an exploration of the esoteric that only images can explain but words can’t capture. Like Blake, Delville takes religious themes in a deeper and more complex direction, incorporating all of humanity’s spiritual pursuits rather than boiling them down to the simplest and most colonial stories of the divine. Delville painted his Neoplatonic beliefs, bringing to form the three realms of existence: the physical (the realm of facts), the astral (or spiritual world, the realm of laws), and the divine (the realm of causes). Neoplatonic belief holds that the material, physical realm was the one humans need to transcend in order to achieve existence in the astral and divine realms. As a species, we’re doing a pretty poor job of that by the looks of things today. Observing Delville’s paintings is an almost transcendent experience; his subjects are not of this earth, but I get a sense that they once were. This is what throwing off the shackles of corporate greed looks like – knowledge of self, ecstatic enlightenment.