Monday, October 10, 2005

Hebrew Micrography

Omer calender detail: Italy, ca. 1825 Micrographic text: Five Megillot
(Esther, Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations)
B (NS)Mc43

One of the few traditional Jewish artforms, micrography, a sub-branch of calligraphy, arose in the middle east in about the 9th or 10th century, and was particularly used in biblical works. As suggested by the name, micrography employs tiny lettering which is distributed as a pattern to provide shadowing or embellish artwork or form artistic motifs themselves, as with the deer above.

Of course, the practice has crossed cultures and there are a number of examples at Almaleh, including this portrait of Queen Victoria which is made up of 170,000 words describing her life.

This post derives circuitously via the eclectic Carnet de Zénon.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Paintings with words/letters is "in vogue" again, seen it done by some modern day artists around Sydney.

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