We are doing Old Testament/Ancient Egypt for history and Bible this year, and I am wondering what artists would go well with this? (We already did Rembrandt last year 🙂 Does anyone have any suggestions for other artists who often painted Old Testament themes? We do enjoy sticking with one artist for a period of time. Or any other suggestions on how to do this differently with this unit? I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed doing for this time-frame!PollyParticipant
Michelangelo has a few paintings of Old Testament themes.
I didn’t seek out specific artists that painted “Biblical” paintings-especially since most of them are inaccurate regarding the Bible’s content as they were influenced by the church doctrine of their time.
What we did instead was to study the art of culture in their time. YOu understand more about the culture, and statues and actions within the Bible, by studying their art. There’s lots of books to assist in that:
Coloring books from Dover related to that ancient civilization
Learning About Ancient Civilizations through Art -Bobbi Chertok
Shirley Glubok- Art of… series
Museum Guides for Kids: Egyptian Art -Ruthie Knapp (others in the series-all ages)
Ancient Egyptian Art: Art in History- Susie Hodge (others in this series by author)
Drawing History: Ancient Egypt – Elaine Raphael (others in this series by author)
Art and Civilization: Ancient Egypt – Neil MOrris
Art of Lands in the Bible-Shirley Glubok
It was Good: MAking Art to the Glory of God- Ned Bustard
Art of Ancient Egypt: A POrtfolio – Paul Chevannes
I thought of Michelangelo too for his sculptures of David and Moses. The former is a nude though if thta bothers you. There is an interesting explanation for why his Moses statue has horns. When Moses came down from Sinai from meeting with God, we usually translate that his face “shone.” But in Hebrew the word is from the same root as the word for “horn” (as in animal horns) so that is how the statue is.
Nebby is correct that the words “shone” and “horns” come from the same root, but Jerome rendered it wrongly. There are a couple of problems associated with the sculture of Moses and it helped perpetuate one of the worst Anti-semitic myths for the entire Middle Aages and beyond-that Jews have horns under their skullcaps, thus connecting them with Satan. So that is why I’m addressing this.
In the 5th cen. Jerome, in the Vulgate, translated the word for shine and the word for horns wrongly. They are spelled the same way (same Hebrew characters-i.e. root) but are pronounced differently: KARAN for shone; KEREN for horn. The context should have indicated to him that it had to do with shining rays, not horns of light. Both Hebrew and Christian scholars recognize Jerome’s error. Gesenius’s Lexicon says: “Absurdly rendered by Aqu. and Vulg. (into Latin) cornuta erat, whence painters represent Moses as having horns” also going against the translation rendered in the Septuagint and ancient Jewish translation traditions.
There are other depictions of Moses w/rays of light coming out of his head, in the shape of horns, during the Middle Ages which contributed to this myth that was so destructive. Apparently there was no art of Moses “with horns” in the Eastern churches because they relied on the Septuatgint, while those European churches used the Vulgate until KJV-which renderd the Hebrew as shone.
HTH; didn’t mean to hijack or correct anyone, but thought Jerome’s error should be addressed in light of history.swineygirlParticipant
We enjoyed a number of Biblical paintings by Peter Paul Rubens when we were in that period of history. 🙂
Sorry if there was any confusion. I was trying to be brief. I never meant to say that the word should be translated as “horns.” Just trying to explain why the statue looks like it does. It seems like a pretty obvious question that would come up if you were studying it. The anti-semitism is, of course, very sad, but I don’t think it was a necessary result of the mistranslation. Unfortunately, people will always find ways to be cruel and hate each other. Jerome’s mistake and the depictions that came from it were just the pretext.
Oh, I know that you weren’t saying that it should be translated that way; you didn’t make a mistake, at all-Jerome did and his translation made a significant contribution, as did other church writings and doctrines, to anti-semitism-it wasn’t just one thing, but unfortunately this ignorance stills exists.
It’s actually a very good example, and I’m glad you brought it up, Nebby, to the power and the far reaching effects of art in history (the view of Hell due to to the visual conception of Dante’s inferno by Botticelli comes to mind, too). When you dig into the “whys” of things, you sometimes get to the underbelly of humanity; but it is still necessary to know the good, the bad and how one thing affects another. History is multi-layered.
Hence above, when I mentioned about learning of the art of the cultures of the Bible and how it gives a great deal of insight into that world; whereas looking at art that was done by an artist about a “Biblical story” through Middle Ages or Renaissance religious filters, as interesting as it is, isn’t so illuminating about the BIble but more telling about the artist’s time period and his own religious environment, IMO.PollyParticipant
I just saw this the Veritas Press catalog: http://www.veritaspress.com/prodinfo.asp?number=250065kurtjenvbParticipant
Thank you all for these great ideas!!
Rachel– I completely agree that the artwork tells us more about the artist and their time than about the Bible itself. Whether one wants to get into all the historical layers depends, I suppose, on the age of one’s children and what sort of background they have in these things.
It is a shame that an anti-semitic interpretation has been attached to the horns, but I do want to emphasize that this is not a necessary aspect of them. “Horns” is a decent translation of the Hebrew. Besides the Exodus passages which refer to Moses, there is only one other verbal use of this root (in a different conjugation) in Ps 69 (I think) where it cleraly refers to animal horns. It is used far more often as a noun in which form is means “horns” of an animal or something symbolic of horns (like the horns of an altar or hills which are presumably horn-shaped) in almost all occurrences. There is only one instance in Habakkuk in which is seems to mean something like rays of light. So the normal meaning of this root is “horns.” I suspect we must understand that Moses has horn-like rays of like emanating from his head, but the fact is it is just not entirely clear from the Hebrew what was going on. Horns in Hebrew are not a bad thing, quite the contrary. They are a symbol of power and strength. The later conceptions of horns as demonic are just not in the Hebrew Bible.
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