This must be the earliest version of his paintings involving the raven as a Jungian archetype. You can see how the man in the painting – a medieval man perhaps, a knight, a falconer ?- is looking at the bird in a kind of mastery of it. Below, the bird appears in a mirror in the boudoir of a woman, and the whole is observed by a princess-like woman that recalls the artist’s wife. The mirror also has the aspect of a tombstone – in fact the two lower birds are on tombstones in a graveyard, and river flows between them, out of the woman.
Of course anyone who knew the artist was aware of his obsession with the raven as a feminine archetype – the priestess who initiates a man into more understanding of life and death. She makes the man face death.
I think his marriage, and his association with Brother Antoninus the poet, brought him into direct contact with strong questioning about the archetypes of the raven, the princess, and the knight.
The confrontation in the painting seems to result in two positives – fire that is lit, the only orange in the painting – and the princess who seems to be able to begin to rise upwards.
The lime green in the painting – which I know Ken would have said represented “life” – goes from the man’s heart, to the woman’s blouse, to her crown.
Talk about profound subject matter that has a direct bearing on coping with life…that is Ken all the way.