Three Ways to Learn From Hebrew Bible Paintings

As I gradually expand Slaves and Kings I want to reinforce my own personal reasons for doing the blog in the first place. One of the most important reasons is learning. This article highlights three ways to learn from realistic Hebrew Bible paintings.

1. Learn About the Most Important Artists

Hebrew narratives are part of the classic canon that painters have illustrated throughout art history. This means many of the best-known artists from Rembrandt to Michelangelo to Rubens have contributed to this category. There are also many equally accomplished albeit less universally known artists who painted Hebrew Bible. In both cases, the artworks produced are magnificent to behold and well worth learning from, for any aspiring artist.

Bathsheba with King David's Letter by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 1654
Bathsheba with King David’s Letter by Rembrandt H. van Rijn 1654
Rembrandt, one of the most highly regarded painters of all time painted many Biblical narratives.

2. Learn About the Stories Behind Many Classical Artworks

As a budding artist visiting museums throughout North America and Europe I’ve often marveled at the beauty and technical accomplishments of great artworks. Most of the time, however, the narratives in the images were lost on me. Many of these artworks portray Hebrew stories; so learning about them enhances one’s ability to appreciate some of the world’s most important artworks.

Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens c.1609
Samson and Delilah by Peter Paul Rubens c. 1609
In the story of Samson, this Hebrew hero falls for Delilah. In his sleep she tips off the Philistines who cut his hair, severing his source of strength from God.

3. Learn Painting Technique From the Masters   

Speaking of masterpieces by old masters, there is some unparalleled technical proficiency at work. For the aspiring artist, painter or illustrator studying these artworks has much to teach. The working artists I revere most always discuss their study of artists they look up to.

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