The 17th Century Papist Pyramid MEETS 21st Century Photographic Art

copper plate engraving combined with studio photography

I have recently been working on an image that incorporates a pyramid of serpents originally created around 1600. As I looked at the piece more carefully it tells a fascinating historial tale.

Close up of lower part of serpent pyramid

Historical Insight Through Artwork Of The Times

Depicting a pyramid of serpents dated 1612 by Hendrick Honius (I) is a commentary on the reformation. I’ve had to translate the original information about the image which I found on the Rijksmuseum so I am relying on GoogleTranslate for accuracy. Text on the image itself includes Latin, French and Dutch.

pyramid of serpents head details

The large snake that heads up the pyramid wears the papal tiara (anti Catholic satire). It also has a really interesting tongue but it is only just possible to make it out – a figure on a crucifix – take a look on the original and you might be able to make it out.

pyramid of serpents hats close uppyramid of serpents hair close upThe smaller snakes each symbolize other elements of the Catholic Church. There are various types of headwear including mitres and those not adorned with a fancy headpiece have monk style hair.

On the ground are all kinds of other objects symbolic of the Roman church.pyramid of serpents ground

Unfortunately I cannot find much information about the image but I thought it was a wonderful historical commentary worthy of sharing. I could have easily passed it by if I hadn’t been looking so closely for the photoshop edit. This image is not currently for sale but if you are interested please get in touch.

Pyramid of Serpents 1612

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