Umbrae Nova is by far the best name for the ascended/descended (dependent on your imagination obviously) Celestia I've come across. Very good choice. The picture itself is one of those rare gems that do justice to the saying of the 1000 words. Umbrae doesn't look evil despite her demonic appearance but sad or maybe curious just as Twilight doesn't have the stance of someone terrified but merely afraid, despairing but also hesitating... she really doesn't look as if she's about to bolt just like Umbrae gives no indication of an empeding attack.
Well... a lot of people have already commented that they'd write a fanfic on this and I would like too. Alas, my longer fics never seem to get finished and this deserves so much more than a oneshot. /ramble Truly a great and inspiring work.
Thinking now of this remarkable work, I firstly cannot say that I've ever commented on art inspired by MLP: FiM, though this effort will change that. Catching sight of this one night, and appreciating the wider context of what I was seeing, it gave me much to think about, until finally bringing my thoughts here to articulate. To keep things orderly, I usually divide between thematic and technical aspects of an art work, as I shall do here too.
Thematically, this is a work of singular power - a rich, dark and potent impression which precipitates curiosity and fosters attempts to understand the scene unfolding, more precisely. In the operas of the Ring Cycle - as penned by Richard Wagner - we find a heady, rich and tragic tale centered upon the now familiar notion of magic rings. What is essential from this, recalling a documentary I encountered a few years ago, was the philosophical proposition that in order to wield absolute power, one must surrender love - urgency I feel resonates with this remarkable work here and now. The notion that the beneficent, sagacious and gentle Celestia has become consumed by some desire - and has divested herself of what she once was - using the medium of her power to achieve it. In becoming what she is now, and so utterly transformed, fans of the show could begin to appreciate the fear and terrible revelation of Twilight Sparkle - more so, how that once loving, trusting relationship has been changed and perhaps for the far worse too. In becoming Solar Flare, Celestia would impel Twilight to confront an enemy that wields not only divine power and vast knowledge but also to face the gulf between them; something that may have always been, but is now indelible. The revelation of where her relationship with the princess now is seems embodied in that luminous eyed expression SF has as she inclines towards Twilight; her brilliant, shining eyes moved by a seeming curiosity or bemusement at the one who presumes to confront her. Where might Twilight stand now, before a once loving, wise ruler who is now a supreme, undeniable and dark power? It seems love is now lost to power.
Technically, this is a superb work and can, on those merits alone, bring a viewer back for more. The sheer ambiance is remarkable and very evocative as the usually rich, bright world of Canterlot is remade into one of dark, fiery splendor. The use of shadow also is remarkable in accentuating the characters and the assorted details are excellent when more closely considered; SF's shining gaze and its expression, Twilight's tears and seeming strained shock, the majesty of the now dancing, flaming mane and the valley beyond now bathed in a dusky yellow all work to impress a dark narrative on the viewer. In all, I would like to commend and applaud this remarkable work and the artist for giving such a remarkable vista onto a curious, dark and compelling idea of Princess Celestia becoming Twilight Sparkle's enemy. Fruits of long, hard work .