Sant'Angelo is one of the tallest structures in Rome, commissioned
originally by Hadrian as a mausoleum and built around 130 AD. Over time
it became a residence and fortress for a succession of Popes. On a
recent trip to the castle I was astounded to find an unguarded (no
staff, no barriers, no obvious cameras) painting by Nicolas Poussin in
one of the many small rooms. Poussin was the painter of the Shepherds
of Arcadia which is associated with the Rennes le Château mystery in
which the priest Berenger Sauniere discovered a secret and or treasure
leading to him becoming an overnight millionaire and celebrity. Poussin
was also an alleged grand master of the so called Priory of Sion. This
painting was yet more bizarre than the Shepherds of Arcadia. It
features what can be best described as a debauchery scene with the
deity Pan (or a Pan-like deity) providing his support and general
Here is the attribution:
addition to the many Pan-like figures distributed throughout the
painting there is however one figure of interest who is wearing a cloak
with a red jewel and holding a staff containing the hermetic double
made me wonder about Poussin's other paintings. The list makes for
interesting reading but the more notable ones in relation to the story
I tell in my book are as follows.
There are numerous paintings
in which 'Nymphs' are interacting with goats including riding a goat
and a derivative of the goat-god, Pan.
Here is the goat riding.
And here it is again but in another form by Poussin.
those readers of my book you may be struck by the similarities to the
freemasons' jokes about riding the goat including their comedic
postcards, as well as the scene at Otranto cathedral, southern Italy,
of King Arthur riding a goat. Here they are again for reference.
next painting is the Judgement of Solomon. King Solomon has a special
significance with freemasons. Solomon's Temple was also known as the
Holy Temple and First Temple in ancient Jerusalem. It was destroyed in
the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar II during the siege of
Jerusalem of 587 BC. It was subsequently replaced and was the ultimate destination for the Knights Templar.
of the Temple is the next painting. This time another incarnation of
King Solomon's Temple, now known as the Temple of Jerusalem, is
destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD as part of the sacking of
Jerusalem and the Temple. The Roman's were quelling an uprising.
This caused the many treasures and secrets to be stolen and taken to
Rome through the same Roman legion involved in Christ's crucifixion.
Further context and speculation about what was really going on is
provided in my book.
I was in Castel Sant'Angelo discovering this little mentioned painting
attributed to Poussin it was intriguing to find that he had in fact
painted Castel Sant'Angelo, the papal stronghold, in his painting
called 'Landscape with Orpheus'. This is featuring what I might
describe as a nice picnic whilst the papal fortress of Castel of
Sant'Angelo burns in the background. Was this an overt anti-Vatican
signal from Poussin? Here it is below.
hope that you can spot a number of similarities between the story in my
book and Poussin's paintings. Even if the Priory of Sion was a
fictitious organisation (quite likely albeit I do not believe it to be
quite so clear cut, as many sceptics claim) Poussin still had some
interesting ideas, both overt and veiled.