Israeli artist Avner Moriah is to receive one of the biggest honors an artist can wish for: an opportunity to present his art to Pope Benedict XVI and have his artwork kept among the Vatican’s distinguished holdings.
Moriah, known for his paintings of Israeli landscapes, will present the pope with an illuminated Book of Genesis, a project he has been laboring over for the past two years.
“The project lasted two years. The first year I concentrated on developing the visual themes for the book, and I built up the visual material for the tales in the book. In the second year I sat together with my calligrapher and we painted page after page, designing the amount of text and the relationship between the text and the visual images, so there will be some kind of a balance within the book itself,” Moriah told Reuters in his studio in the community of Har Adar, near Jerusalem.
The elaborate Hebrew text was written by calligrapher Izzy Pludwinski.
“I think the uniqueness about my project is that it has a tremendous amount of illustrations in it, and the text and the illustrations bring the story up to life. And it’s a coherent story that is relevant to our times,” explains Moriah.
The illustrated Book of Genesis will be presented to the Holy See on May 16, during a special audience at the Vatican. Israel’s Ambassador to the Vatican, Mordechay Lewy, will also attend the event.
“It’s not only that I, myself, am excited to be at this occasion; but I think I am also representing my people and 2,000 years of a Jewish-Christian relationship. I think the fact that at this point an Israeli artist can be there shows how far we have come from earlier times,” Moriah said.
After the ceremony, Moriah intends to continue and illuminate the entire Bible with his colorful images.
Born in 1954, Moriah received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale. Some of his works are displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harvard University and Yale University, which have already purchased several of only 100 copies of the book available worldwide.
Source: Israel Hayom