© Myrtice West/Collection, Rollin Riggs/Photo, Rollin Riggs

“I saw one like the son of man” reads Revelation 1:12, the beginning of the main text for the first of Myrtice West’s Revelation paintings. The simple imagery of the painting, very different from her later and more complex works (see apocalypse painting), focuses on Jesus, who stands surrounded by seven candles, representing the seven churches to which the book addresses. Jesus is “dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet…with a golden sash around his chest…head and hair…white like wool, as white as snow…his eyes…like blazing fire. His feet…like bronze glowing in a furnace…In his right hand…seven stars and out of his mouth…a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:13–16). Though Revelation’s symbolism is complex, the long robe and sash are high priestly wear, the white hair may connote wisdom and dignity, the sword may symbolize divine judgment and the seven stars, explained as the angels of the seven churches later in the chapter, may represent either heavenly or earthly messengers or ministers.