An Unusual Halo – Art Behind the Ink

What do Italian Renaissance art, intimate ink and a PA have in common?

They all come together in the unusual half-angel character in my Mel Goes to Hell series – Persephone, or Persi, as she prefers to be called. Now, this isn’t a character profile about Persi – it’s on some of my inspiration for the girl (Though if you want to see what she looks like, she manages my mailing list in the top right-hand corner – the one wearing a red dress and white wings).

You see, she has a rather unusual tattoo.

I’ve seen a fair bit of ink on book covers and characters lately – particularly the big, tough heroes. Biker or Dom, CEO or rockstar, all these blokes seem to have body art that you don’t forget. So when I realised Persi had a halo tattoo, I wanted a design that would be unforgettable. Something that would make Lucifer himself stare – for he is her target.

Oh, and being Persi, it couldn’t possibly be a pretty set of ink wings on her back, topped by a halo. Being half-angel, she knows what the real deal looks like. Her halo is…in a very unusual place.

I will leave that particular detail as a secret to be revealed in See You in Hell, where her very intimate ink makes its appearance.

Her fondness for ink arose when she was on assignment (yes, angels and half-angels get assignments, too) with a bikie gang, investigating a possible case of demonic possession. She’s very good at what she does and her methods are…hardly angelic, though if you believed that angels don’t engage in sex, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. I did my research and my references for angels having not just sex but children are three highly regarded religious texts – the Bible, the Torah and the Qur’an. If you’re curious about how angels have sex, you can read more about that HERE.

Fortunately, Persi enjoys her work and the men she meets…before immortalising them in ink.

There’s plenty of modern art she could take inspiration from – even the pictures in Lucifer’s office, which were featured on my website earlier this week, HERE.

Of course, she wanted something unique, so that’s what I was aiming for. Now, where to find an orgy of naked people, vying for her attention?

Oh, my…in ART. Honestly. You didn’t expect me to put that sort of photograph on my website? I’m a wildlife and nature photographer and while those things are arguably natural, they’re not my preferred photographic subject matter. Unless they’re immortalised in oil…

So where did Persi find her images of orgiacal eroticism? In a cathedral, of course!

The Cathedral

Cathedral of Orvieto - global view
On 13 November 1290, Pope Nicholas IV laid the first flagstone for the cathedral in Orvieto, Umbria in Italy. The cathedral was dedicated to the Assumption of St Maria into Heaven. From what I can tell, the cathedral was constructed and improved until 1607, with varying additions and changes in style until it became the Gothic design you can still see today.

Now, Orvieto Cathedral is huge and has some incredible artwork both inside and out. Duomo Orvieto facciata rosone 08-09-08 f01

So, Persi would certainly look somewhere a little more discreet than the front façade for her artwork.

Chapel of the Madonna di San Brizio

Saints and the Madonna and the Whore of the Apocalypse…of course, these are found in the Chapel of the Madonna di San Brizio. Construction of this chapel took only 36 years – from 1408 to 1444, but the chapel waited another fifty years before the painting inside it was complete. In 1499, Luca Signorelli, a painter who was roughly the same age as the finished chapel, was contracted to finish the frescoes on the walls and the vault of the chapel. It took him until 1503 to complete his work and the paintings are considered to be some of his best. His subject matter? The Apocalypse and the Last Judgement.
Luca Signorelli's frescoes in the chapel of San Brizio, Orvieto Cathedral

Yes, I’m getting to the Whore of the Apocalypse – a figure Persi seems to be inspired by.

The Damned are taken to Hell and received by Demons

The picture that captured Persi’s imagination the most is Signorelli’s The Damned are taken to Hell and received by Demons – a painting where clothing is definitely in short supply. Ah, it’s the end of the world – who needs it?

Luca Signorelli's The Damned are taken to Hell and received by Demons