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Beautiful Theology

Signifying truth in more than words alone

Monday, June 11, 2007

Noli Me Condemnare

On our trip to the Art Institute, Margaret and I delighted in this painting of Job, which the title card identified as an anonymous Spanish work from the early seventeenth century:
Job Speaks

(Job is saying “Noli me condemnare,” “Do not condemn me,” from the Vulgate of Job 10:2: “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; show why you judge me so.‘ ”)

The way the painter adopted lettering that looks like metal type tickles us pink. What does this imply about the way the anonymous painter thinks about speech, about print, about communication? Would a brush script not have sufficed? What models did the painter have — perhaps only the blackletter banner-lettering from cheirographic and woodcut Bibles? Did he think that by emulating a Roman text metal typeface, he rendered the image “modern”?

(Cross-posted to Beautiful Theology)


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