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Patriarchs

Narrative Series

Each of these series of paintings creates a distinct narrative; i.e. a story with a beginning, middle and end. They are meant to be seen as a complete group in a specific order, and unfold episodically just like the stories in the Bible.

Additional Texts: Richard McBee’s Akedah Series: Reimagining and Reconfiguring Jewish Art by Matthew Baigell The Binding of Isaac: Genesis 22

Additional Texts: Richard McBee’s Akedah Series: Reimagining and Reconfiguring Jewish Art by Matthew Baigell The Binding of Isaac: Genesis 22

Pirkei Avos 5:4 (Our forefather Abraham was tested with ten trials, and he withstood them all – to show the degree of our forefather Abraham’s love for God.) There are different lists of the “trials” found in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, Avos d’Rabbi Natan, Midrash Tehillim…

Multiple Paintings with the Same Theme

Many of the diverse incidents in the Bible have fascinated me over the years. I have treated the same specific subject over the course of my career from different perspectives and in many different styles, each hopefully lending a new insight into the event.

Abraham and the Three Strangers Genesis 18:1-16 1 And the Lord appeared to him in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men…

When exploring a narrative the most obvious, at times banal and yet dramatic theme is the presumed climax of the central event. Additional Texts: Richard McBee’s Akedah Series: Reimagining and Reconfiguring Jewish Art by Matthew Baigell The Binding of Isaac: Genesis 22

This figure, though common in commentaries, is invented here by me as beginning to give an explanation of the logic of Sarah’s death. Once the angel of death was sent to take a soul and was frustrated by the Divine command to spare Isaac, the…

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes (1976) Jaynes maintained that primitive man lacked self-consciousness, having a bicameral mind, and operated on the belief in the voices they heard in their heads (one side of the brain communicating…

Among the earliest images I created were reflections of the synagogue fresco series from Dura Europos, dated ca. 235 C.E. and discovered in 1932, that depicted around the Torah niche the Akeida; Abraham, Isaac, the ram, and a figure in a tent doorway. Our tradition…

The shattered father and son relationship was an early subject. In spite of the traditional commentaries that maintain that Abraham and Isaac were united in doing God’s will, it always seemed to me that the near-death experience of Isaac at the hands of his father…

The links, emotional and theological, between a God who would demand the unthinkable of Abraham and a God who hid His face during the Holocaust seemed overwhelming. Additional Texts: Richard McBee’s Akedah Series: Reimagining and Reconfiguring Jewish Art by Matthew Baigell The Binding of Isaac: Genesis…

Because of the nature of God’s test of Abraham, it is considered as if Abraham actually slaughtered Isaac. In the Rosh Hashana Machzor, in the chazzan’s repetition of Shacharis, a piyut declares: “They are confident in the ashes of [Isaac] who was bound like a…

Rashi: Sarah’s death is juxtaposed with the Binding of Isaac because through hearing the news of the Binding—that her son was readied for slaughter and was nearly killed—her soul flew away and she died. Vayikra Rabba, 20:2: “…for Isaac then returned to his mother and…

Because of the fundamental importance of the entire chapter 22, each mundane episode can be fruitfully examined. In 2018, I completed a series of thirty paintings that focus on each verb in the narrative entitled Akeidah Verbs. Additional Texts: Richard McBee’s Akedah Series: Reimagining and…

    The Stolen Blessing – Supportive Text The Stolen Blessing: Esav’s Blessing – Supportive Text

Genesis 28:10-22 10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and remained there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his…

Wrestling With the Angel Genesis 32:22-33 22 So went the present before him; and he himself lodged that night in the camp. 23 And he rose that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over…

Genesis 39:6-20 6 And Joseph was handsome and good looking. 7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said to his master’s wife, Behold,…

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