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Drawings of Serpent Handlers

 

"MEETING AT THE BRUSH ARBOR"

This drawing presents a frenzied production of several individuals participating in the act of "taking up of serpents", a literal interpretation of the Biblical verse Mark 16:18. This occurs under a brush arbor, a temporary structure made of small tree limbs and branches to provide shelter for outdoor church services.

Here the serpent handlers have erected their brush arbor near the edge of a bluff with the Appalachian Mountains in the background.  The five snake handlers in and around the brush arbor were derived from the classic Greek sculpture "The Laocoon Group" and Peter Paul Reuben's drawings of this classic sculpture. The women in the foreground were appropriated from Michelangelo's and Bronzino's versions of "The Brazen Serpent".