Dawn Black - the snake and the rising of the stag

Dawn Black makes these evocative collage paintings. In this one, someone wearing one of those creepy red Spanish inquisition hoods holds what looks like a California king snake over the shoulders of a bejeweled soldier to whom a young man who looks like a slave from ancient Rome tips a stag head.

In medieval folklore/allegory, stags and snakes are enemies. Says the Medieval Bestiary, "When the stag discovers a snake, it spits water into the hole where the snake hides, draws the snake out with its breath, and tramples it to death. If the stag is ill or old, it draws the snake out of hiding and swallows it. The stag then finds water and drinks large amounts of it to overcome the poison, and is renewed. When the stag is renewed it sheds its horns. Some say that the stag cures its ills by eating crabs it finds in the water."

Allegorically, the stag is supposed to represent Christ who is renewed (and renews others) when he and they shed their horns (e.g. sins) after drinking water. And eating crabs. I hope that's what is going to happen here, but one cannot be too sure. Hm. many thoughts. much inquisition. wow. such snake. peligro gallows. so crabs.