Reptiles of a feather flock together

Introducing the latest artwork by the skilled artist Dave Curtis, titled “Reptiles of a feather flock together.” This new work showcases his aptitude for deriving inspiration from religious narratives, historical legends, and ethnographic subjects. Does Curtis’ latest picture in Falls Church, Virginia pay homage to the legendary Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl, often known as the feathered serpent? Alternatively, is he once again engaging in a comparative analysis of analogous motifs present in art and religious narratives throughout different historical periods. Quetzalcoatl, a significant supernatural deity in Mesoamerican culture and cosmology, is represented by a smaller snake-like monster atop a larger center figure with a skull-like face and a serpentine, swirling body.

The totem poles adorned with stylized visages are most likely depictions of Aztec or Mesoamerican imagery and symbolism associated with analogous divine beings possibly pointing to the same god.

The little serpentine or draconic animals further emphasize the serpent themes associated with Quetzalcoatl, who is regarded as the deity of wind, air, and knowledge, represented as a feathered serpent.

The picture features a dramatic contrast – a diminutive human figure like a monk or friar, carrying a cross, positioned directly in front of an aggressive dinosaur-like creature, as well as a colossal, monstrous architectural monument. This implies a fascinating symbolic juxtaposition between the spiritual and religious realm, symbolized by the modest monk holding a sacred cross, and the colossal and ancient power personified by the mythical serpent-like creature as well as the attacking dinosaur-like being. The small monk’s resolute posture expresses a feeling of unwavering belief or inner strength in facing an immense, presumably age-old, and mythical force or entity in front of him. This contrast prompts the observer to contemplate the interplay between distinct realms – the mortal and the legendary, the rational and the incomprehensible, belief systems and the inscrutable powers of nature. This piece is a stimulating fusion of symbolic components that stimulates reflection on humanity’s connection to the enigmas of existence.

The presence of the ship in the distance may represent the entrance of the Spanish conquistadors, a significant event linked to the mythical return of Quetzalcoatl in Aztec mythology.

In essence, this painting can be described as the artist’s creative depiction and examination of the significant role that Quetzalcoatl played in the beliefs and mythology of ancient Aztec society, using surreal and metaphorical elements. The vivid and extraordinary visual representation glorifies the everlasting symbolic influence of this legendary deity. Knowing the artist, and his past exploration of themes in his work this god most likely also hints at the serpent in the biblical account of the garden of Eden and the temptation of Adam and Eve.