Adam and Eve

I had not included in the original post of Creation a painting that I had included in the Sunday School class on which this blog is based.  I saw it as wry and humorous.  What do you think of it?

Adam and Eve HOLBEIN (1517)

A copy of the above photograph of the painting may be found at http://www.artbible.info/bible/genesis/3.html.

I had previously mentioned my daughter, Hilah, who has a minor in art history.  She contributed to the post of January 22, 2011 entitled Similar Language – Different Contexts and Expressions.  Hilah now contributes the following, which I think may be helpful to interpret some of the paintings of the Passion which I have already posted.  Stations of the Cross is a traditional, organized and comprehensive practice to contemplate the Passion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyT4IvTGSwk  – Curator explanation Barnett’s style

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GacKM9yxiw4&playnext=1&list=PLDF282CA5953223BD – explanation of technique, Zips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzorhPULdi0&feature=related  – To Your Hand in Mind, 8min video showing best detail of stations

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gkl1erbB9-Q&feature=related – Stations with Mozart’s Requiem

http://wesscholar.wesleyan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1549&context=etd_hon_theses&sei-redir=1#search=”barnett+newman+images+of+stations+of+the+cross” – pages 49-63 Full images of paintings

Newman’s interpretation of the stations may be hard for some viewers at first look because of the abstraction versus a more classic story-telling piece of traditional religious art work.  Newman’s focus was to break through the theatrical, “merely interesting” beauty of art to develop emotional, intellectual art with sustainable conviction.  Newman predicted that “the art of the future will…be an art that is abstract yet full of feeling.”

Newman chose a simple color palette, black, white, and canvas to evoke a sense of light within and throughout the canvas.  His unique style of “zips” was created as a way to separate areas of color by thin vertical lines that not only define spatial structure but also creates some amount of tension that divides and/or unites the composition.

The Stations of the Cross is a series of paintings subtitled “Lema sabachtani” or “why have you forsaken me” – words spoken by Christ on the cross and a question asked by many throughout experienced turmoil.

Below are quotes directly from the paper cited above about how viewers may interpret Newman’s Stations of the Cross:

“Viewers must, therefore, hold the emotional or metaphysical subject matter of the title

in the minds and allow their consideration of it to be conditioned by the painting in front of them.”

“The Stations are thus extremely compelling, for they are the clearest example of how this synthesis of abstract form and content can be constructive. Viewers begin with the title The Stations of the Cross, and thus consider Jesus, the Passion, God, life and death, and all that goes with the Christian Stations. Most of all, however, they will consider suffering and the question of “why?” particularly if they are given the subtitle Lema Sabachthani or are familiar with any of Newman’s discussions of the paintings. What this means initially will be different for different viewers. Some may themselves be Christians and believe in a divine plan that includes and justifies suffering, others may bring secular philosophical explanations to the topic, while still others may not have any particular answer. Regardless, each will have suffering and the question of its purpose or justification in mind.”

The Stations themselves are usually a series of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes:

Jesus is condemned to death

Jesus is given his cross

Jesus falls the first time

Jesus meets His Mother

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross

Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Jesus falls the second time

Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem

Jesus falls the third time

Jesus is stripped of His garments

Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross

Jesus dies on the cross

Jesus’ body is removed from the cross (Deposition or Lamentation)

Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense.

A more traditional Stations of the Cross is presented at Église Notre-Dame des Champs (Avranches), which may be found at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/61/Normandie_Manche_Avranches3_tango7174.jpg:

                       

Links to my site:

Introduction https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

The Wonder of Creation

My sister, Esther Palmer, painted a series of murals for a Congregational church in her hometown in Vermont.  She used the language of a different artistic style for each day of creation.   You may recognize the style of The Sixth Day as that of Chagall.

The Sixth Day ESTHER WHEELER PALMER

Seventh Day ESTHER WHEELER PALMER

The subjects of this painting are her husband, Tony, and daughter, Aiden.

Next page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/remembering-recent-victims-of-violence/

prior page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/remembering-recent-victims-of-violence/

Links to my site:

Introduction

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

Creation Expressed in Similar Language But With Different Contexts and Interpretations

I hear in our Sunday School class, and even in my own parents’  faith talk, certain phrases or expressions that are similar in some respects, but have different meanings when explored, or are different in other respects yet refer to the same or similar concepts or experiences.  Likewise with art:  art speaks individually and personally.

Medieval art was crude in the ways it artistically represented the physical world.  There are several reasons for that.  For one, upon the fall of Europe from Roman dominance into the Dark Ages, although the art of mosaic had developed, artistic expression in painting was very limited.  The precursor of modern painting developed in the Catholic Church in the form of Illuminated manuscripts, which initially appeared as the Biblical copyist’s artistic and colorful embellishment of the first letter of a section of script.  Later copyists might incorporate into that first letter a miniature painting of subjects or scenes in that section.  As painting developed during the Medieval Period into a larger scale production, skills were nonetheless crude.  The artist’s mental image of a subject or estimation of each element’s value was often more important than the actual image of the subject, so that little children were often depicted with child-like, even cherubic, bodies capped with an adult face; there was no sense of perspective, as that did not develop until the Renaissance; rounded figures appeared flat on the painted surface for lack of modeling to give the appearance of the play of light upon a real, 3-D subject; in Middle Age Scholasticism the principal theological discussion may have been on how many angels could fit on the head of a pin, or how evil spirits lurked in dark places, manipulating the physical world to their twisted purposes, grotesque, imaginary figures flew about the painting, wreaking havoc in a fragile world; animals often had human qualities; and the artist often obviously projected onto the painted object his or her feelings or ideas about the subject.

Creation of the Animals by Master  Bertram (1345-1415) is a late Medieval painting that demonstrates both the representational style and thinking of those times.

Creation of the Animals by MASTER BERTRAM

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/32357038@N08/4314988398/ for the source of the photograph of the above painting.

In the early Twentieth Century, long after the  development of perspective, modeling and richly realistic techniques, there was a reaction to then contemporary realistic, representative art.  Whereas the style of painting during the Medieval period reflected the attitudes and beliefs of that day, often unconsciously for the lack of a developed natural,  realistic, representative technique, in the Twentieth Century artists often discovered that a representational style might “fool the eye” but did little to express thoughts, feelings or ideas.  They often found that unconventional use of earlier, often primitive forms and techniques, could express what representative styles could not.

Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) early discovered that a conventional, realistic style ill-served his purposes in painting.  He passed from a representational phase through Cubism, Symbolism and Fauvism, and finally settled on a style that would seem to have much in common with Master Bertram’s Creation of the Animals, above.

 Creation by CHAGALL

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/82764856@N00/89300990/ for the source of the photograph of the above painying.

Despite some overt similarities between the two paintings, they speak from different times, different backgrounds, different values and belief systems; they share a sense of wonder at creation; but, beyond that, the intended expressions are quite different.   For a readable and accessible discussion of the art and times of Marc Chagall see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Chagall

My daughter, Hilah Wheeler, who has an art history minor from University of Nebraska, Omaha, notes that the same painting will have different effects or meanings to different people.  She says, “With all art, the visual scene simply does not do the painting justice.  The composition is merely the start.  It’s the viewer’s interpretation, the artist’s motives, and historical background that really exposes the heart and soul of the painting.  I hope you enjoy these three!”

Hilah refers me to a painting relating to the scene of the Garden of Eden that utilizes such a mixture of odd objects, environments and positioning to tap into the subconscious and symbolize much more complex expressions: Bosch, Garden of Earthly Delights  –  Beware the Perils of Temptation!   She says, “This triptych always catches my attention; each time I look at it I see something new. Reading about the piece is just as fascinating as viewing it.  Symbolism at the time was important to the artist so it can almost become a game or a soap opera finding hidden meanings within it.  Enjoy!”

The painting is a triptych, consisting of a central panel and two side panels:

Garden of Earthly Delights  –  Beware of the Perils of Temptation! BOSCH

See http://www.spanisharts.com/prado/bosch.htm for the source of the above photograph of the painting and notes on it and each of its parts, consisting of the left panel of Paradise, middle panel of Earthly Delights, and right panel of Hell, a place reserved for the results of immoral dabbling in the earthly delights.  The above site indicates in its notes that Bosch curiously painted his self-portrait in the center of Hell.  In order to help you explore these paintings, as Hilah suggests, I will insert each separately, again derived from the above site:

Hilah also refers the reader to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights for other sources of photographs of the paintings and notes exploring its symbolism and expression.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieronymus_Bosch for an excellent interpretation of Bosch, his Surrealistic style predating the Twentieth Century, and his orthodoxy despite the uniqueness of that representational style.

next page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/similar-language-different-contexts-and-espressions/

prior page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/blake-testimonies-about-god-and-gods-activities/

Links to my site:

Introduction

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

BLAKE: Testimonies About God, God’s Activities and God’s Relationship to Humankind

We see in Blake an entirely different expression of the experience of God in Elohim Creating Adam BLAKE, below, http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?workid=1119&tabview=work,

and in God as an an Architect BLAKE, below, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urizen,

[Click on the links, above, where the picture and description of the painting may be accessed.]

and a God who relates to us personally through nature, as in God Answers Job Out of the Whirlwind, below,

Is it possible for any one representation of God or God’s activities to offer a complete picture?  Is it possible that we each will experience the Divine in ways that are unique to us?  If we accept that “God speaks” to us individually, are we more likely to appreciate expressions of the the experience of the Divine that are different from our own, even those that may appear to conflict with our own?

I understand that the Hindu greeting between persons with a bow and with palms pressed together and pointed upward in a prayer-like attitude, is an acknowledgement of the deity in the other.  If we see that others are also “made in the image of God” will we tend to be more respectful of them?

next page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/similar-language-different-contexts-and-espressions/

prior page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/blake-testimonies-about-god-and-gods-activities/

Links to my site:

Introduction

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/

Creation of Adam MICHELANGELO

Creation of Adam MICHELANGELO

Obtained from http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/m/michelan/3sistina/1genesis/6adam/06_3ce6.html

There are two different Genesis accounts of creation: The first is Genesis 1:1-2:3 in which we have the common story of creation in six days; the second is Genesis 2:4-25 in which the order of creation is different: God creates man first, then the animals and brings them to Adam for naming, and then God creates Eve from Adam’s rib.  The first is generally cited by Christians (and perhaps Jews and Muslims) as giving the correct order of creation, of which man and woman are the final and crowning glory.  Many also cite it as determining periods of one day for each act of creation; the second is cited by Christians (Jews and Muslims?) primarily for the story of the seperate acts of creation of Adam and of Eve.  Michelangelo takes the second story of the creation of Adam for the theme of his painting, Creation of Adam, on the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel.  Is he saying this is literally what happened?  Or is he saying that Adam was “made in the image of God?” Or is he commenting on what it means that “man” is created in the image of God?,”  Can it be all of these?

I had read of a medical doctor’s (I think a neurologist) interpretation of  Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam as God imbuing man with the gift of the brain and intelligence.  I thought that was a novel interpretation, but when I presented that painting to my Sunday School class, Shari, a mental health counselor, immediately exclaimed, “Why that is the human brain and brain stem!”

Teilhard de Chardin attributes the phenomenon of human intellect and self-awarenessas to a function of  highly complex organization of matter in the human brain.  See http://www.godweb.org/chardin.htm  What is interesting to me in de Chardin’s statement is that it would suggest that the difference between the human brain and that of other animals is one of degree, not of kind.  The other aspect of de Chardin that I admire is his wedding of matter with spirit, rather than the historical dualistic separation of the two.

Dietrich von Bonhoeffer wrote the following meditation on this painting:

THE LOVE OF THE CREATOR FOR THE CREATURE

“Sleeper, awake!  Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”  (Eph. 5:14).  This is also what Michelangelo meant.  Resting on the young earth, Adam is so solidly and intimately connected with the ground on which he lies that in his still dreamy existence, he himself is quite unusual, quite miraculous, and yet still a bit of earth; indeed, it is precisely this complete unity with the blessed soil of the created earth that reveals the full glory of the first human being.  And in this resting on the earth, in this deep sleep of creation, the man now experiences life through bodily contact with the finger of God – it is the same hand that made the man that now touches him from a distance and awakens him to life.  The hand of God does not hold the man nearer, clasped in his grip, but sets him free, and its creative power becomes the longing love of the Creator for the creature.  The hand of God in this picture in the Sistine chapel reveals more knowledge about the creation than many a profound speculation.

From, I Want to Live These Days with You.

It seems to me remarkable that the ancient stories in the Bible maintain so much of their original form despite developments in Judaism diverging from the literal myth; likewise that through Christian transmission of those sacred documents there is no obvious manipulation of those stories to justify Christian doctrine. Therefore, it seems to me that the form of those mythologies that were passed on are likely consistent with the original myths, themselves.

Accepting that, my following commentary will be based upon the myths, as stated in scriptures which are shared by Judaism with Christianity and Islam. If that is objectionable, how does one explain the literal differences between the first creation myth and the second, which incorporates the story of the Garden of Eden?

Since the second story of creation and the Garden of Eden are the basis of later Christian concepts of original sin, I will begin with a discussion of that story:

The second story begins in Genesis 2:4, at which time no plant had emerged. In Genesis 2:6 and 7 we are told that “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into him the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Then God planted a garden in Eden, where he placed the man. Thereafter, God causes every tree to grow, including the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then, God places man in the garden (Genesis 2:15). God tells the man that he may eat of any tree except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Then, because “it is not good that the man should be alone” God creates the animals, and Adam is given the right to name them. But God finds that the animals do not adequately provide the man with help, so God places him into a deep sleep and from the man’s rib God forms woman and brings her to Adam (Genesis 2:20 – 23). And so, Adam and Eve roamed the Garden of Eden.

A serpent presents itself to Eve and convinces her that the fruit of the forbidden tree is good, and she presents it to Adam. Their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves to cover themselves. Then one day, as God is walking through the garden, when he calls for Adam. Adam admits that when he heard God’s voice, he was afraid because he was naked; therefore he hid. Genesis 3:1 – 11. Yes, God punishes Adam to a life of toil, Eve to bear children and pain and be submissive to Adam, and the snake to slither upon the ground (Genesis 3:14 – 19). God does not evict Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden because of their disobedience, but rather, because the Lord God and the other gods discovered that Adam had become as one of them, to know good and evil; and they feared that he would also eat of the tree of life and live forever (Genesis 3:22, 23).

So what does the story tell us? Life is hard work and pain, but man and woman are infused with the breath of God. In the first story, Genesis 1:26, the Lord God says, “let us make man in our image after our likeness.”
Nothing in the story indicates that man sinned or that his or her offspring would inherit sin: only that paradise was lost.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_of_Adam for an excellent and in depth analysis of the painting.

Read what Frank Lynn Meshberger, MD wrote of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam at:

http://www.wellcorps.com/Explaining-The-Hidden-Meaning-Of-Michelangelos-Creation-of-Adam.html

For an excellent video showing the location of the above painting of Michelangelo, its context in the Sistine Chapel and expert analysis and commentary on that chapel and its art, see http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/sistine-chapel-ceiling.

See http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/michelangelo.html?searched=Creation+Adam+MICHELANGELO&highlight=ajaxSearch_highlight+ajaxSearch_highlight1+ajaxSearch_highlight2+ajaxSearch_highlight3 for for poetry by Michelangelo concerning the link between the art of sculpture, the human body and God.

next page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/blake-testimonies-about-god-and-gods-activities/

prior page: https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/invitation-to-healing-the-bible-through-artists-eyes/

 

Links to my site:

Introduction

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/introduction/

Graphic Arts

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/i-graphic-arts/

Architecture

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/ii-church-architecture-and-its-incorporation-of-art/

Music

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iii-music/

Theology

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/iv-theology/

Home Page

https://bibleartists.wordpress.com/