by John Stoehr
You've already seen "Lust," one of a series of egg-tempura panels by Paul Cadmus, the fantastical realist who inspired Jill Eathorne-Bahr to choreograph her own Seven Deadly Sins (to be performed at Charleston Ballet Theatre studios Friday and Saturday night; read the whole story here). The thing about "Lust" is that she's awful. As I wrote:
"She's stripped of all sensuality, beauty, and appeal. Her legs are thick, her skin is jaundiced, and she gestures with her stubby, knuckled hands at the large, gauzy black hole below her hideous navel."
I describe other panels in Cadmus' series: "Wrath" ("red and violent, with spikes coming out of his fingers and toes; shards of bloody glass slice into his body") and "Gluttony." We couldn't fit all that in the paper, but here you've got first-hand access. As for "Gluttony," I wrote:
"His skin is taut and pink and scaly and thin. His abdomen is bursting. Guts are dripping onto his feet. And he's eating, no gorging, on what look to be the guts of another entity of some kind. In fact, he's swaddled in intestines. He can't get enough.
"This has been my inspiration," she told me.
"The disgusting figure is "Gluttony," part of the painter's series of egg-tempura panels that the author of the book, famed New York impresario Lincoln Kirstein, calls the "capstone of Cadmus's career.
"Kirstein continues, "Riveting in their diabolical repulsiveness, imagined with an awareness of essential morality, their precision of imagery and intense realization in form and color present a universalized iconography of evil unique in our time."
Funny how inspiration works.