The Sophia, in Jewish mysticism, was the personification of the female counterpart to god. She epitomized wisdom, and was looked upon as a deity that was elusive but could be searched out and found. The name Sophia itself is Greek and means wisdom, being the root in such words as philoSOPHY, SOPHIST, etc. Later religious groups, like some early christian sects, debased her as a heretical figure- her wisdom being superficial and of a false kind.
I personally like the idea of a female godhead, and in this enlightened age I thought it well to represent her in my own style and art. I looked to other female goddess roles for inspiration- Demeter, Minerva, Diana, etc. There seems to be an overwhelming degree of identification with the most popular- and powerful- female deities with the earth, with life, and with death. Of course in the real world woman do carry much of this burden- or blessing, however you look at it- like childbirth, and the stereotypical nurturing roles, etc. Men like myself are able to be brats and run off from our duties with family and home and life, pursuing silly things like war and death and the ‘sporting’ lifestyle.
The Sophia in this painting resides at her place in the cosmos- at once beautiful, stoic, matriarchal and proud. Flower petals symbolizing life fall from her fingertips, but there is brevity in this gift. The skull at her feet is death and the inevitable end of life, yet the skull remains after all else has decomposed; a permanence to this cycle. Accepting this truth and understanding it’s beauty can be enlightening and a release.
Original painting was completed in watercolor, gouache, and some acrylic on Crescent illustration board, circa 2007.