The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,

And took the fire with him, and a knife.

And as they sojourned both of them together,

Issac the first-born spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron. But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?

Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,

and builded parapets and trenches there,

And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.

When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,

Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,

Neither do anything to him. Behold,

A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;

Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.

But the old man would not so, but slew his son,

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

An apt way to end the class, after much discussion about Christian art, as well as the class activity that focussed on George Segal’s sculpture of Abraham and Issac. Prof Gul brought up an interesting point that questions what role religion plays in modern art, where it seems that there is a rejection of representing faith in art.

Furthermore, with the previous lesson on Islamic art in mind – where a work is considered Islamic as long as it either incorporates Islamic art techniques or ideals, I questioned why certain art works that incorporates Christian iconography despite the political agenda it carries – such as Leon Ferrari’s Western Christian Civilisations, is not really considered Christian art, and why certain art works, such as Millais’ Christ in the House of his Parents would generate such controversy. It seems that this is a rather difficult question to answer, and each art work has to be placed in its historical context to fully understand the controversies that it brought about.

This certain requires a lot of research, especially into each art work mentioned in class.


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