The Fallen, An Allegorical Tale

The Fallen, An Allegorical Tale

My final painting of the year has been one that was started in early 2016 and finally completed this past month. Although I had the two main characters down, I didn’t settle on what symbolic meaning and imagery to add that gives the painting a hidden message. This is what took the most time; what to add and where to add it so that when viewed, initially looks like a typical religious painting but yet when explored has a totally different perspective.

When you explore the painting closely, you will notice other images within the painting that may change the seemingly obvious meaning. On the surface, the painting looks like one angel possibly the Archangel Gabriel fighting or expelling another angel. If we take the title of the painting, “The Fallen”, then one could assume this other angel would be Lucifer who was the fallen angel that became known as Satan. But, is this who this other angel is or represents? What are these other items around him and what are the objects in the distance? Does it make sense that this is purely a religious painting without significance to the other objects in the painting? Much like life itself, it is always more than what it seems and has a much deeper meaning.

The Fallen by Vic Ritchey
The Fallen, 24×20, Oil on Panel, by Vic Ritchey

When I started the composition of this painting, I wanted it to be something that threw people off their tracks and make them think a little deeper than just the surface of what they were viewing. Put on your critical thinking skills hat and let’s explore the actual meaning and the symbolism behind this painting and how one object actually reflects more than just one subject matter.

The overall theme of the painting is not only all mankind’s fall from grace but more specifically that of America. “The Fallen” is all of us; it’s humanity, it’s our country. We are the ones separated and divided from the divine. If you look in the background behind the fallen angel almost in the center of the painting you’ll notice what resembles The Capitol building. It is in a haze of flames as red as the blood of men pouring down the Capitol stairs. We no longer have a functioning government and it is always us vs. them, thoroughly divided like the flames engulfing half the dome of The Capitol.

Going further to the left of The Capitol building on the other side of the fallen angel, you’ll notice the U.S. Flag. Yet, the flag is flying in reverse of what is normally shown. It flys to the left instead of the right indicating that we, as America, are going backward. The reasons for all this may lie further down the painting with the other symbols that surround the fallen angel.

To the left, under the arm of the fallen angel is a feather covered in blood. This feather represents what remains of a dove, torn and tattered from its body and left covered in blood. The dove, always a symbol of peace is now gone and all that is left is death. Peace is gone and war, murder as well as hatred and intolerance remain. The feather points to the reason as it is directly situated and aimed directly at The Capitol. Our current government and administration is the cause of hatred, division, and war.

Holding what is typically another symbol of peace, an olive branch, but this branch is broken. Not only is peace destroyed but also the environment. A branch of life, peace, and nourishment is now broken and left to die. It also is a symbol of reaching out to others as an offer of peace and agreement. Our government broke promises, removed regulations harming our environment and leaving many allies left out of past agreements to align themselves with others that may offer the peace that we have destroyed.

Now look to the left below the wing by the fallen angel’s foot. There is a dollar bill that is torn laying below his wing. Of course, this represents greed and more specifically capitalistic and corporate greed. The dollar bill is torn in the center further indicating what is ripping our country apart and creating divisions within our society. Looking closer at the center of the bill where it is torn is a different color than the dollar itself; there is an orange dot where a distinguished individual’s picture would normally appear. This tear goes right through the center of this orange portrait on the bill. This represents our current resident in the White House, #45, which is the cause of all our divisions and due to greed and corruption will only tear our country further apart.

And finally, the ring that lays by his finger. Why the ring? Well, this is something personal that I added which also represents lies. Not only does it represent the constant false accusations and empty truths and lies from this current administration but it also is something much more deeply personal. The paleness left behind on his ring finger where the ring once was worn more distinctly represents the emptiness of a binding covenant. The ring has come off to show us the truth behind the lie.

Why a wedding ring? I wanted to include in my painting a lie that I never discovered the truth until both my parents had passed away. I was always told they married in 1957 but after their deaths, I saw their marriage certificate and found out the real marriage date was 1958. Apparently, my mother was 3 months pregnant with my older brother and her mother (my grandmother) forced her to get married in order to save her reputation. I never knew this and was told she married my father at the age of 16, which now I know was a lie. We held a 50th Wedding Anniversary for them which really would have been their 49th and all family members were there and yet, I still never knew or heard anything otherwise. They both went to their graves with this falsehood. Therefore, I wanted to include their lie in a painting and this is what the wedding ring represents. As long as this painting exists, the falsehood exists and will be exposed. A lie is never hidden forever and is eventually exposed.

So you will notice all these symbols encircle the fallen angel. War, death, intolerance along with broken promises and destruction of our environment, with lies and corruption and greed dividing all of us. We as humanity, we as Americans are divided and going backward; our government is failing us and divides us further.

We will remain separated from the divine and holy, keeping the light from our engulfing darkness with the threat of death. Only God can have mercy on what humanity has chosen to do to itself.

And so this is my final painting of the year, one that holds a dark allegorical tale. I can only hope that a brighter year with unexpected change occurs that will turn our current darkness into light.

Now you know the story, get your print of this poster or other items such as notepads, coffee mugs or even hand towels or T-Shirts. Check out all the items representing this painting on my Prints and More page or visit my other Order Page.

The Fallen by Vic Ritchey Framed Print on Wall