Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Andrealphus: development and symbolism

Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair: Mattia Montanari
Make up: Pukkia CyIce
Assistant: Jimmy Richter
Additional resources: Miss69-stock (textures), Nightgraue (wings), Ro-stock  (starry sky)
Special thanks to Insolentia for helping blend the wings!

Ever since I was a child, up to around sixteen, all I wanted was to become an astronomer. Then I realised I sucked at maths and physics so it wasn’t the job for me, but I never ceased to be fascinated by the night sky. No wonder I decided that a Demon who granted knowledge about the stars was to be included in my series, and here comes Andrealphus.
Which was not an easy pick: as I often say, most of the Goetic Demons are just a copycat of each other, doing pretty much the same thing in a slightly different order or combination. Although not as commonly as the Demons who “knoweth things past, present and future”, “findeth hidden treasures” or “reconciliateth friends and foes”,  browsing through The Lesser Key Of Solomon I came across quite a bunch of people who taught either astrology, astronomy or both, and I had to decide who was fit for my project. The problem was that most of their names were just plain awful. Seriously, I couldn’t take seriously a Demon called Marax, Stolas, Furcas, Bifrons or Alloces; they’re just… bitch, please. Asmodeus was already busy with his own lusty stuff, while Amy sounds too much like the goddess-complexed female Demon fronting Evanescence. I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about Andrealphus either, until I read Innocent Bird by Hirotaka Kisaragi. One of its main characters, Shirasagi, is a Demon and his real identity is Marquis Andrealphus; although I’m not overly fond of that character, he was enjoyable enough to make me opt for that name.
Shirasagi, aka Andrealphus, from Hirotaka Kisaragi’s Innocent Bird
Shirasagi, aka Andrealphus, from Hirotaka Kisaragi’s Innocent Bird.
Although I already had a clear idea about the symbolism and even what the finished image would look like even before choosing the name, I had no clue about the model, apart from preferring a dark-haired guy. I found Mattia casually while browsing the “people you could know” on Facebook (which is proving unexpectedly useful in casting models) and immediately thought he was perfect for Andrealphus. I asked him, he liked the idea, we quickly arranged the shooting and everything was done smoothly and without any trouble.
A very rough Andrealphus sketch
A very rough Andrealphus sketch.
For what concerns the symbolism, it’s all about his starry nature. My idea was so show Andrealphus while demonstrating his illusory powers by recreating a starry sky all around him and a model of the Solar System in his hands; his clothes are meant to make him look smart and professional. By the way, I’ve depicted him as the Demon of both Astronomy and Astrology. A little side note on my view of the subject might be useful: first of all, in the Infernal Lords cosmology, there are two planes of existence, the Astral and the Physical one. Astronomy is the science that studies the physical universe, while astrology interprets the apparent position of the planets to determine the influence of their Astral Plane counterparts: in a world with Angels and Demons, how far-fetched can it be for them to use the stars to influence mankind?
In the real world, astronomy is a science which I love, astrology an art with no scientific pretence whatsoever which I don’t believe in but I’m very fascinated by. My thought is, basically, that one doesn’t harm the other and I see no need for astronomers to go around bitching about astrologers.
Andrealphus by GothicNarcissus: detail
Andrealphus by GothicNarcissus – detail. Click to enlarge.
The theme-colour is indigo, which recalls the night sky; the theme song is also called Indigo and is sung by :LOR3L3I:, and I chose it because the lyrics are quite fitting for one of the most eye-opening, mind-widening Demons in the series.

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