If You Must Escape, Don’t Look Back!

Genesis 19:1-26 tells of the story of Lot escaping Sodom.  Lot’s wife looked back, the account says, and she could go no further: she became a pillar of salt.

Lot and His Daughters CORTE (1597-c. 1660)

See http://www.lib-art.com/artgallery/8569-lot-and-his-daughters-juan-de-la-corte.html for the source of the above photograph.

We see here the old story as rendered in early Baroque style  and cast outside a medieval-looking city.  For the Baroque period, I suppose, that would portray an ancient city and setting.

The Baroque style is characterized by a sense of drama.   In music that dramatic affect is addressed by the Doctrine of Affections which holds that music can affect the emotions by association of mode, key or character; in art it is often depicted in storms of nature (See El Greco’s View of Toledo) and scenes of destruction depicted by a sense of chaotic motion.  Here we see the holy conflagration of fire and brimstone visited upon Sodom and cities of the plains. That chaotic, supernatural effect from the hand of God is amplified by the use of chiaroscuro, a sense of dramatic light bring the viewer’s eye to the flames that consume the city and tornadic activity upon the planes.  In the dark, somber, foreground we see a way of safe passage provided from the city. But it is not joyful.  The angel of God, in providing them escape from God’s anger and rage that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, had warned Lot and his family not to look back as the went.  We see Lot and his daughters grimly press on, keeping there solemn gaze forward, only, as they were instructed.  They dare not look back that Lot’s wife, their their mother looked back.  She has become a pillar of salt as punishment.   They must abandon her, else they also be punished.  One of the two angels who came to warn Lot leads the way and the other guards the rear, save the pillar of salt.


Lot Fleeing With His Daughters From Sodom ALBRECHT DURER (c. 1498)

See http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/d/durer/1/02/08lotdau.html for the source of the above photograph of the painting and a description of it.  Albrecht is known for his engravings.  I am particularly fond of the Renaissance characteristics of the painting.  For his biography and his contributions to the world of art, see http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/d/durer/1/02/08lotdau.html .

Having posted this, I see that WordPress has offered the following blog as a related site.  Keep Moving Forward explores in greater depth and detail and on a more personal level my suggestion in this blog.  In the event wordpress changes the related posts, I want to preserve and refer you to it: http://bobbyquitain.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/keep-moving-forward/

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