The Birth of a Book: Part 3. Introducing Deborah
It’s been nearly a month since the last post — at least in part because I changed my mind about how I wanted to treat this section in mid-painting (the last post shows a very early stage of that) — and scrapped it. Here’s very quick, pretty warped photo of the Hebrew page of this section, and hopefully I’ll get the English page posted late next week. This page introduces the character of Deborah. Our first glimpse of her shows the judge and prophet holding court under the “palm tree of Deborah,” speaking with anxious Israelite farmers alarmed by the predations of the Canaanite army led by Sisera, whom we saw in the first illuminations. The initial word (her name) is shown against a painting that introduces her, while the bar across the middle of the page shows Deborah and her general Barak leading the Israelite tribes into battle — the English page will introduce Barak. The smashed and spilling jars of grain and wine shown below on this page tell us of the damage left by the Canaanite raiders. Check back next week.
On a related note — the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is presently exhibiting the very important and glorious illuminated manuscript in Western civilization, Les Belles Heures du Duc de Berri, which is still unbound (and available for full exhibition) following restoration work. My “me-to-me” gift when I finished my graduate work at MIT (poli sci) was a facsimile of another, even more remarkable manuscript by thesame artists (who were teenagers when they made this one)…which should have told me something then about what I was supposed to do with my life! GO!