Sunday, May 1, 2011

From So Simple A Beginning...Endless Forms Most Beautiful...Are Being Evolved....

Evolving Creation...Kathleen Fennessy,2011.

There is a grandeur in a view of life, with its several powers, as having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved....Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859

The mystery of all Creation...artistic and universal...has been a primordial source of complex and diverse explorations in all world cultures of these fundamental questions: Where does it all come from? How can we explain...order...and cope with it? And how can we record the creative experience?

 The Library of Congress itself has evolved from a library originally established by the American national legislature for its own use... into a broad-based and comprehensive international collection...this is an especially appropriate focus for the national library of a country where most of its citizens trace their roots to many of the cultures represented in its collections.

In 2003,The Library of Congress's international gallery began an ongoing exhibition called "World Treasures"...its first installation was called "Beginnings"...and it focused on how world cultures have artistically and creatively dealt with the creation of the universe, and how they have explained the heavens and the earth


Hamishah Humshei Torah (The Five Books of the Torah).

The Opening Word of the Bible
The Hebrew word Beresheet, which means "in the beginning", opens the Book of Genesis.This decorated initial word is from the first volume of a planned multi-volume edition of the Hebrew Bible.The volume was published by the Society of Jewish Bibliophiles, the Soncino Gesellschaft, in Germany in 1933.Hitler's rise to power prevented the Society from completing what would have been the first bibliophilic edition of the Hebrew Scriptures.

James Weldon Johnson. "The Creation", from God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse.New York:Viking Press, 1927.

                                         And God stepped out on space,
                                         And he looked around and said:
                                         I'm lonely --
                                         I'll make me a world.

A Poet's Version of Creation...."The Creation" is one of seven poems in God's Trombones through which African American poet James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) paid tribute to the black preachers he remembered from his childhood. Each free-verse poem presents in lyrical but colloquial language a version of a classic sermon, such as "The Creation" or "Noah Built an Ark". Johnson rejected the use of broad Negro dialect as comic and derogatory and revealed the old-time black preacher as a folk hero of dignity and eloquence.

William Blake..."Urizen as the Creator of the Material World" from Europe,A Prophecy.Title Page,Lambeth:Printed by W. Blake, 1794.

English poet, William Blake's image of the Creation...Blake's image of the creation is one of the most enduring ever conceived.  He depicts the monumental figure of the Creator set within the framework of the blazing sun and by the use of the set of huge calipers(a measuring instrument)incorporates the concept of rationality in what was about to be wrought.This relief etching is
further enhanced by Blake's brilliant application of color,which heightens the drama of the story of the beginning of the world.

William Blake.The Song of Los, Lambeth:Printed by W.Blake, 1794.
The archetype of the "creator" is a familiar image in the illuminated books of William Blake. On top, Blake depicts an almighty creator stooped in prayer contemplating the world he has forged. The Song of Los is the third in a series of illuminated books hand-painted by Blake and his wife, known as the "Continental Prophecies", considered by most critics to contain some of Blake's most powerful imagery. Only six copies of The Song of Los are known to exist.This copy is the most brilliantly colored version and is continually consulted by scholars studying Blake's work.
In the lower image, Los resting on a cloud, leans on his hammer, the symbol of his creative energy. He stares down at the bright red sun that he has fashioned out of components of his own soul.The sun represents the giver of life,that most fundamental of elements which keeps the world in balance and nurtures the development of all physical matter.

Santal creation account.Scroll,ink, and watercolors on paper.Bengal,India:mid-twentieth century.

Santal creation myth...the Santals are a tribal people living in several states in eastern India. Among them live itinerant Hindu professional storytellers and painters (jadupatuas), who recount Santal stories, religious beliefs, and festivals using narrative scrolls that they paint. This scroll acquired by the Library of Congress shows the Santal creation story. In the top panel are the 3 principal Santal deities, Maran Buru, Jaher Era, and Sin Cando. In the next are the water and water creatures made by the creator, Thakur ("the Lord").From the mating of two geese come the first human couple and from them their seven sons and daughters, who marry each other and then divide into clans so that siblings may no longer marry each other.

In this opening to the Finnish national epic, important for fostering Finnish nationalism under Russian rule, Kalevala compiled by Elias Lonnrot (1802-1884) from Finnish folk poems in the  mid-nineteenth century, the creation goddess is depicted as a young girl celebrating her attributes of air and light. The best-loved illustrations of the epic are by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931), and this special edition includes 24 illustrations of his paintings.

Ida Bagoes Made Togog of Batoean."Pall design:traditional for Brahman or Satrya body." Ink on paper.Margaret Mead Papers...
The Balinese cosmos...this work by the important Balinese painter Togog (ca.1915-1989) depicts the Balinese conception of the cosmos while reflecting the emphasis on balance in Balinese culture. In Balinese cosmology, the World Serpent (Antaboga) created the World Turtle (Bedawang) through meditation. On the turtle are coiled two snakes;this is the foundation of the world. This painting,  also a design for a funeral pall, depicts the turtle and snakes, with the Supreme Being above.

                                           Michelangelo,The Creation of Adam,Sistine Chapel,The Vatican

                                           Sacrilegious...but funny....the deity as the primal bartender...even Adam liked a good vodka martini...
                                             Jackson Pollock...painting in his studio...the ultimate evolving creation....

"There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn't have any beginning or any end.He didn't mean it as a compliment, but it was."... Jackson Pollock

                                          Three Musicians,1921,Pablo Picasso,the Museum of Modern Art,New York,
                                           Oil on canvas.

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction...Pablo Picasso

                            The Creation of Music.....
The Theater of Music Mythology:Creation was created by Troika Design Group for the rebranding of MHD, a music TV is an "exotic blend of illustration and character animation which tells the "backstory of how the world of music came to be"...the "idea was to create ancient mythological stories that explain the origin of music and the transformative effect it has on the world".

Primal Leaf,oil on canvas,16x20,
                                                 Kathleen Fennessy,

For further reading: The Greatest Show On Earth:The Evidence for Evolution,Richard Dawkins,Free Press, 2009.

1 comment: