Michael Stevens' The Pentecost (After Mano), commissioned specifically for The Word on Fire Bible (Volume II): Acts, Letters, and Revelation, depicts the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dramatic collage of imagery culled from across the history of art. The composition depicts the awe-inspiring descent of the Holy Spirit in all its bewildering suddenness and mystery through a fusion of aesthetic elements ranging from baroque to contemporary.
The Holy Spirit throws a cascade of blazing lava down from the top of the composition. Its flowing, fluid quality harkens back to Joel's prophecy from the second chapter, in which God promises to pour forth his spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28). Despite being immersed in this blazing torrent, the Apostles are unharmed—a reference to the burning bush's nonconsuming flames (Exod. 3:2). As the lava cools and hardens, it becomes a pillar of rock, symbolizing the Church (1 Tim. 3:15).
The Spanish master and Dominican friar Juan Bautista Mano is the most conspicuous of all the aesthetic influences shown in the painting's rich structure. Stevens has "transplanted" the Apostles from a painting by Mano from 1614 (also named The Pentecost) in a move that evokes the ancient pedagogical practice of imitating the work of a beloved master. ). There are pictures of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23) strewn among the Apostles, which are based directly on Paul Cézan's Post-Impressionist still-life paintings.
In addition to these references to previous works, The Pentecost (After Maíno) also takes inspiration from contemporary art. Several of the surfaces in the picture are repurposed, incomplete representations of mirror-polished twenty-first-century artworks that have been painstakingly re-created in oil paint. This theme is most visible in the reflected, sapphire-blue water that pours over St. Luke the Evangelist's head, but it's also visible in the flowing lava, though less so.
Size - 11" by 17"
Paper - 80#
Print Type - 4 color offset