Inferno V: King Minos, The Adjudicator
Ink on paper, 2016
22 x 15”
The dead line up to confess their sins to King Minos, who encircles himself with his serpentine tail, the number of times it girds his body corresponding directly to the circle of hell to which each soul is destined. The Prince of the Lilies, from Knossos on Crete, served as inspiration for the costuming.
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In one of the most unnerving moments of L'Inferno, Dante and Virgil observe King Minos holding court over countless souls who must report to him their transgressions before he can damn them to the appropriate circle of Hell. Dante often indulges in generous poetic license to re-imagine characters from myth and history, and his chimeric mutation of Minos from ancient Greek King to serpentine monster is one of his most colorful and sinister characterizations.
The Prince of the Lilies, a fresco unearthed at Minos' infamous Knossos palace (where beneath the floors lurked another hybrid beast, the Minotaur) gave me a great head start in imagining the adjudicator's flair for elaborate, peacock-and-lilies headdress and long, wavy locks.