Drawn into our Shame and Unforgivable Disgrace. – The Fall of the Damned by Peter Paul Rubens

How are we supposed to begin exploring this overelaborated master piece? The eye goes from left to right, trapped into a bath of light and then drawn into obscurity and melancholia.

A twirl of flesh dives into abysmal depths. Nothing seems to be stopping this massacre. As the bodies plunge into the shadows, we can hear all the voices , the screams, the very last cry for help. Desperation is the underlying tone behind the naked bodies and the demons hanging on to their feet as if they were hanging on to their last thread of hope. They will die. They are expelling their last implorations, asking for mercy and redemption. This is The Fall of the Damned. And no one will be graced.

The chiaroscuro (use of strong contrast of colors to create an even more intense effect) bewitches our eyes from the top to the bottom of the painting.
From a heavenly bright light to a macabre heap of corpses and barbarians from hell. All the characters are mingled in their struggle, the nakedness of their bodies translates their vulnerable state.
We feel nothing but empathy.
The horrifying beasts, cruel, heartless, and excited by the pleasure of dragging the offenders into their doom.

We know the surface is flat yet we are tempted to come closer to the canvas. The irregular bodies, the flaws of the characters and the unwanted sins create a texture only visible to the viewer watching the scene with emotion and soul.
We are witnesses of a never-ending carnage.

Guilty or not, we are drawn into our shame and unforgivable disgrace.

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