OK, let’s see what where is to say about Saturn:
In mythology, Saturn is the Roman god of agriculture and harvest. He is identified with the Greek deity Cronus. His rise to power is overshadowed by castrating and overthrowing his father. And he is mostly known for eating his own children as a prophesy said one of his offsprings would overthrow his rule.
In astrology, it is the black side of Saturn that mainly colored its aspects. Saturn is all about restriction and limitations. It constricts by reminding us of our boundaries, our responsibilities, and our commitments. But that ensures structure and meaning in our world and so Saturn helps us to grow.
In art Saturn gave its name to a school of thought that celebrated melancholy – the Children of Saturn. Again, the dark side of the god/ planet came to the forefront. This current was closely connected with the Dog Star Sirius as the heliacal rising of the star marked next to other things the ‘Dog Days’ of summer in Ancient Greece, the hottest days of the year.
For Dante however, Saturn is not the cold star (frigida stella). But for him it was the star of the god who was leader of the Golden Age, an age of justice and fairness on earth, because humans were without malice. His sign was Jacob’s ladder. And so in Paradiso, Saturn is the sphere of the contemplatives who embody temperance, like monks.
Well, after all I said I could have gone the easy road and stop when I read about Sirius. But 1) Sirius never really led a monk-like and contemplative life and 2) he doesn’t fit my own rules for this art series .
The monks rather reminded me of the centaurs in the Forbidden Forest in how they live a rather remote life in a kind of self-chosen ivory tower. They gather knowledge for the knowledge sake and guard it by all means. And once one of them chose to get active and stand up for his opinion – Firenze – he becomes an outcast of their society.
Firenze, or Florence in English, is also the hometown of Dante. And just like Firenze, Dante became an outcast. Dante, like most Florentines of his days, was embroiled in the Guelph – Ghibelline conflict. He even became a pharmacist to further his political career (I like this part enough to mention it because it reminded me of our beloved Potion Master Snape). And he was on the winning side of the Guelphs – first. Yet, the Guelphs split up again and got in a fight and it ended in the dead of many and the exile of Dante. It was in that time when Dante started to sketch out his Divine Comedy.
So, Firenze became the subject of Saturn. As the figures Dante sees on these levels of Paradise have lost their human shapes, an idea of Firenze had to suffice for my picture. Firenze became the city of Florence and the river Arno meanders from top to bottom and splits the opposing shores.
Firenze knew that only team work, cooperation and the implementation of knowledge could rescue his world – the world of centaurs – as well as the rest of the magic world. Hence, Firenze threw contemplation over board and he rather faced exile than to stay immobile like the other centaurs. He laid one cornerstone for one bridge of mutual understanding.
Today, several bridges cross the waters. They connect what once seemed invincible. And Firenze can step up on them, now shaping a Jacob’s Ladder, to the next level of Fixed Stars.