The final sin in Sveva’s imagining of hell is the act of betrayal. She believed this to be so ultimate an evil in her conception of sin that the only image capable of portraying the immensity of this act was this galactic scene. Inspired by a photo of a remote galaxy, this work comments on the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot as an archetype of the sin presented by Dante as the deepest and worst one.
The imagery in this painting brings to mind a visualization of the structure of Dante’s Inferno, in that it presents an idea of concentric layering, which mirrors Dante’s circles of hell that tend towards the inner circle of the ultimate sin wherein resides Lucifer. Sveva also considered the image to represent a mouth, and therefore, the kiss of Judas.
The planetary, abstract, and deeply spiritual qualities of this painting connect Sveva to the work of another woman artist whose major creative output was little recognized in her lifetime, Swedish painter Hilma af Klint.