Following on with the decoded message allegedly contained within one of the parchments Sauniere was to have found in the alter column:
SHEPHERDESS NO TEMPTATION THAT POUSSIN TENIERS HOLD THE KEY
We find the story alleges Sauniere came into money and started making trips to Paris where he is reported to have started hanging out in esoteric
circles, and even possibly have become Emma Calve's lover. On one of this trips to Paris he is alleged to have visited the Louvre and requested
copies of at least 3 works. One is Poussin's Les Bergers d'Arcadie
(the Shepherds of Arcadia) which is a later work to the first work by
Poussin on the same subject Et in Arcadia Ego
This first work was done in the 1630's-1640's, where the second more famous one was done after the 1640's.
In this painting we see two shepherds and a shepherdess??? (possibly, possibly not) who have just stumbled on to the sarcophagus in Arcadia that bears
the inscription Et in Arcadia Ego (translated most times as I too in Arcadia lived). In this we see four characters. The two shepherds along with
their female companion all of whom show the curiosity of the discovery. This is a dramatic moment for them. In the foreground is the god Pan
(associated with Arcadia) who is pouring out the waters of the Underground Stream; a metaphor for hidden, or sacred knowledge. He is not even
distracted by what is happening with the others as he already "knows". The skull which repeats in Arcadian art is at the top of the sarcophagus.
The sarcophagus is slightly raised placing it bearly in reach for the shepherds.
NOTE: From this point on the observations that will be detailed were a group effort with inputs from nerdling, Mirthful Me and myself. I'll try my
best to give credit to the appropriate person as I go, but if I slip up it isn't intentional.
Now the more famous Les Bergers d'Arcadie
This painting, while still virtually the same scene, is now no longer a dramatic moment of discovery, but a moment of deep contemplation. The skull
is gone and the underground stream is gone. One could speculate that we are past the point of their importance - they have served their purpose. The
sarcophagus is now down at man's level and easily approachable. If we assume the same four characters to be at play in the second picture, we now
have the god Pan to the left of the kneeling shepherd. nerdling points out that Pan appears to be watching with almost a chilling amusement as the
man touches the sarcophagus. Though many writers have proposed that the shepherd is touching the inscription on the sarcophagus. I contend he is
touching the shadow - which is not his shadow; it absolutely can't be. In addition, the second shepherd is pointing, not to the inscription, not to
the sarcophagus, but to the shadow. This second shepherd has a look of apprehension and seems to be turning to the female companion for reassurance.
His foot is placed firmly on the cornerstone of the sarcophagus's base; possibly a reference to the church. The female companion no longer takes on
the air of a party to the shepherds, but more of an almost unanimated, disconnected and emotionless guardian. Poussin has even given her a bluish
gray skin tone to make her appear as if she is either turning to stone, or coming from it. She is no longer an "active" participant in the scene.
Nerdling points out a very important point that all have sandals on except the man to the left I call the god Pan. He is barefoot. This could be
interpreted as a show of reverence to "hallowed ground", but in the case the ground is only hallowed to Pan.
At this point we have looked at the elements of the decoded statement that cover SHEPHERDESS and POUSSIN. We now turn to TENIERS and NO TEMPTATION.
I'll place that in the next post as it will be lengthy.
[edit on 10-30-2005 by Valhall]