Birth of a Book Part 2: Archeology and Art

Ivory Carving from Ramat Rachel, 9th-8th c. BCEIn designing my paintings, it’s important to me to use imagery reflective of the era I’m depicting to convey the subtle meanings borne within the text. The archeology of the period thus becomes an essential element in my visual interpretations of biblical text.  Here you see a detail that I’ve just finished painting (there’s lots more work to do on this page).  Here you see a palmette design based on an ivory carving in the collection of the Israel Museum, from 9th to 8th century BCE Ramat Rachel, near Jerusalem.  It was made a little later than the events of the story, but similar designs were in use in the region as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE. Why did I choose this? First, Deborah sits under a palm, as the text on this page tells us, so this is a symbol of her (and yes, my own) presence.  Second, in Psalm 92, the tall, straight palm is compared to the righteous person, whom she of course exemplifies.  I also frequently use this palmette design to allude to Solomon’s Temple, whose decor is described as including such designs (for instance, it appears  in my Psalms book several times).

The pink stuff on the initial word “Deborah” is an undercoat of my gilding medium.  That word will later be gilded with 23KT gold leaf.  I’ll show you the full page after I complete it.

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