Ecclesiastes Frontispiece, Donald Jackson, 2006, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.
Hand-ground ink and pigments, casein and watercolor, shell gold and gold leaf on gum ammoniac/acrylic medium, calfskin vellum.
As a Wisdom Book, Ecclesiastes, focuses attention on life, death and God’s relationship with humanity. A raven, a common symbol of death, serves as a messenger flying up from the center of the illumination appearing to carry the breath of life back to God. It is pierced and surrounded by gold and silver bars, designations of divinity.
The divine, human, and natural realms are juxtaposed with each other as they portray the various ways in which God creates.
The four elements of creation are all here: the green hues of fertile earth, the mysterious blues reflected in both sky and water, and the fire found in stars and comets. Despite the chaos of circling images spinning off the page, there is a constant communication between the heavens and the earth.
(This text is from Ecclesiastes 1:1 – 2:11. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.)
Note: Representative image at left is often cropped for display purposes. Downloaded high-resolution images are not cropped.