The Welcome Guest (2011)
Painting by Patricia Piccinini
Heather & Tony Podesta are great admirers of artist Patricia Piccinini and have hosted her in Washington DC & New York. What is it about the artist’s work which appeals to the sensibilities of Heather & Tony?
Piccinini’s Welcome Guest (2011) above is a hyper-real sculpture of a peacock overseeing the meeting of a child with a strange creature. This piece is typically written up as being a commentary on the the natural curiosity and trepidation of children towards ‘the other’.
However, this sculpture has a hidden—or occluded, or occult—meaning rooted in the esoteric.
Who is Adramelech
Adramelech is a deity mentioned in the Old Testament. He was worshiped by the Sepharvites who burnt their children as an offering to Adramelech:
And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
— 2 Kings 17:31 (KJV)
Adramelech is also one of the demonic counterparts to the Kabbalistic Sefirot.
It not known who the Sepharvites were or where they lived although many have argued it is in Phoenicia, thus associating Adrammelech with Phoenician deities
Depictions of Adramelech
The Talmud teaches (Sanh. 63b) that Adrammelech was an idol in the shape of an ass. Matthew Henry (1706)1 describes Adrammelech with features of a peacock & an ass:
If we may credit the traditions of the Jewish doctors, they tell us that Succoth-Benoth was worshipped in a hen and chickens, Nergal in a cock, Ashima in a smooth goat, Nibhaz in a dog, Tartak in an ass, Adrammelech in a peacock, Anammelech in a pheasant.
— Commentary on 4 Kings (2 Kings) 17:31 1
The Dictionnaire Infernal (1863) depicts him similarly2.
What Does it Mean?
It is safe to assume an understanding of their piece has slipped into our profane world: the entity depicted is Adrammelech.
“Welcome Guest” is a somewhat ironic title for a piece of art about child sacrifice.
That is, of course, unless you’re a fake Jew and actually worship Adramelech; then it’s simply accurate.
More Art by the Artist
Piccinini’s work is a valuable critique of the racism held by some Jews towards Gentiles. The artist exposes that racism for all to see; this is valuable work.