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Isaac « The Bible Through Artists' Eyes  

2012-07-05 02:16:25|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Jan 25

Genesis 27 tells the story of  Rebecca putting Jacob up to tricking Isaac into giving Jacob, the second twin born,the blessing that primogeniture required be given the first born, Esau.  As the story goes, Sarah overhears Isaac make the request of Esau, and she wants her favorite son, Jacob. to receive the blessing, so consorts with Jacob to deceive Isaac.  Of course, Esau had already sold his birthright to Jacob.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

Isaac Asks Esau to Hunt for Venison BERTRAM OF MINDEN (1340-1414/15)

See http://www.artbible.info/art/large/568.html for the source of the above photograp of the painting and notes.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

Isaac Blessing Jacob ASSERETO (1600-49)

See http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/fcgi-bin/db2www/descrPage.mac/descrPage?selLang=English&indexClass=PICTURE_EN&Query_Exp=%28WOA_AUTHOR+%3D%3D+%22Assereto%2C+Gioacchino%22%29&PID=GJ-1457&numView=1&ID_NUM=2&thumbFile=%2Ftmplobs%2FS3EG_40E_40KAP5I%2472N6.jpg&embViewVer=last&comeFrom=browse&check=false&sorting=WOA_AUTHOR%5EWOA_NAME&thumbId=6&numResults=2&author=Assereto%2C%26%2332%3BGioacchino for the source of the above photograph of the painting.

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Tags: asseereto, Bartram of Minden, birth rate, Esau, Isaac, , , Jacob, Rebecca

Jan 25

Genesis 22:1-13 tells us that God tested Abraham’s loyalty to God by telling him to sacrifice “thy son, thine only son Isaac.”  Abraham obeys and is ready to kill Isaac with his knife when an angel interrupts him and provides him a ram caught in a thicket to sacrifice instead.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

The Sacrifice of Isaac  – DIETRICH (1712-1774)

See http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/d/dietrich/sacrific.html for the source of the photograph of the painting and for notes.  As you will see, this painting was based upon an engraving by Rembrandt.  Rembrandt is known for his empathy for his subjects.  There is nothing in the above Bible passage to suggest that Isaac was suspicious of Abraham’s intention to make a sacrifice of him, but in this painting based upon that engraving, Rembrandt imagines Isaac’s unease in helping his father prepare to make a sacrifice for which there is no live object to sacrifice except himself.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

Sacrifice of Isaac REMBRANDT (1635)

See http://www.artbible.info/art/large/274.html for the source of the above photograph of the painting and for notes.  One of the characteristics of the Baroque period both in music and in art is a sense of drama.  One artistic means of providing that is through chiarascura, which is, spotlighting the subject out of a dark background for dramatic effect.  You see that in each of the paintings shown here, each of which is from that period.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

The Sacrifice of Isaac CARAVAGGIO (1573-1610)

See http://www.artbible.info/art/large/2.html for the source of the photograph of the painting and notes.

I recall reading years ago in one of Eric Fromm’s books, perhaps Psychoanalysis and Religion, that he interpreted this story to be a statement that God did not want human sacrifices.  Wikipedia is not recognized as a scholarly source, lacking the review standards of formal research, however, in searching for Eric Fromm’s statement I came across an interesting Wikipedia site that has sufficient references that you may judge its credibility for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binding_of_Isaac.  Apparently there is significant Jewish history to support Eric Fromm’s statement.

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Tags: Abraham, Caravaggio, Dietrich, Eric Fromm, Isaac, , Rembrandt, sacrifice,

Jan 24

As the Jewish version of the story (the only one I have) goes, Sarah gives her servant, Hagar, to Abraham to fulfill the promise that Abraham would become the father of many nations, something she assumes to be impossible through her.  Hagar has Ishmael and then Sarah, despite her old age, has Isaac.  That, as might be expected, generates some jealousy.  Genesis 21:1-21 tells the story that Sarah made it clear to Abraham that Abraham’s son, Ishmael, by her servant, Hagar,  was not going to compete with Abraham’s son by Sarah, Isaac; and so, she demands of Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael must go.  The Jewish account, of course, suggests that their own ancestor, Isaac, was the one who God had really intended as heir to Abraham, and that Sarah short circuited the process for lack of faith.  The underlying notion of that story is that Ishmael is the ancestor of other non-Jewish inhabitants of that region, most often perceived by Jews to be their enemies.  Nonetheless,  the story does concede that God promised to make of Abraham the father of many nations.  The biblical story concedes that for Abraham, both Ishmael and Isaac were equally his sons, that he loved each of them, and that he was very much grieved and conflicted over Sarah’s demand.  The story is fascinating both for its expansive and inclusive view of who are “God’s children,” and for the narrow views that have nonetheless been slipped into it.  Perhaps that is an inevitable part of the human condition.  Or is it inevitable?

One aspect of the story that strikes me is that, after all, we are family: every one of us is a child of God.  A corollary might be that there is no such rancor and emotionally toxic byproducts of any feud as with family: such conflicts strike too close to home to be seen objectively.

Here are various aspects of the story as seen through artists’ eyes.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

Abraham and Hagar MOSTAERT (c 1474 – 1555/56)

See http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/m/mostaert/jan/abraham.html for the source of the above photograph of the painting and some notes.  You will notice that, as with the biblical scenes of Ghiberti, the painting is not of a single scene at a particular time but is a composite of different scenes and events at different times; also it is cast in the time and style familiar to the artist.  In the background you see the angel protecting Hagar and Ishmael in their wilderness journey that follows.  Perhaps Abraham’s gesture shows his love for Hagar and Ishmael and his reluctance to see them go.  You may see other symbols or expressions as well.  Good art, it seems, not only expresses the artist’s conscious intentions but taps into both universal experiences of  life, even of transcendence, and the particular experiences of the observer.  Good art, in all its forms of expression, invites the observer or listener into it and to participate.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael GUERCINO (1591-1666)

See http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/g/guercino/2/abraham.html for the source of the photograph of the painting and notes.  Whereas Mostaert treats the subject of his painting largely as a narrative story, providing an opportunity to paint a scenic view, Guercino explores the human, emotional side of the story from the point of view of each of the subjects.  Now that provides an interesting study of character and of the conflicts inherent in living and doing “what one must do” to get along.

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

Hagar and Ishmael Banished by Abraham VERHAGHEN (1728-1811)

See http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/v/verhaghe/hagar_is.html for the source of the photograph of the painting and notes.  This painting seems to me more formal than expressive, adopting classical forms and setting.  But there does seem to me some reaction of Ishmael to Isaac, and Sarah, rather than looking away as though she has no idea of what is happening, restrains Isaac  as though to protect him from some childish indiscretion.

And finally,

Isaac laquo; The Bible Through Artists Eyes - tuotuofly - 墨·色

The Expulsion of Hagar CLAUDE (1600-1682)

See http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/c/claude/3/06hagar.html for the source of the photograph of this painting and notes.  I have included this, not because it says anything significant to me, but because it reflects one aspect of us that simply wants a feel-good moment in religion, or a religious story or rite that offers us an opportunity for entertainment or for performance, or confirms the imagined validity of our delusions.  Perhaps there is a place for that.  Certainly, not all our religious experiences must be “deep” or serious.

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Tags: Abraham, Abraham and Hagar, , Claude, GUERCINO, Hagar, , Isaac, Ishmael, Mostaert, Sarah, , Verhaghen

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