I say: regarding what I have contended, that the progression of art history is towards this: the recognizing of the universal forms of the Holy Alphabet; and the conjunction of art towards the the support and enunciation, if you will, of truth and kedusha in the world; I wish to further another point: that reaching this stage, where the world can recognize the forms of the holy letters as the essential artistic form, was dependent on the progression of man’s achievement in art to that which was reached in the modern epoch, whose perhaps most important point was the rejection of the deliberate exploitation of the illusion of space in the picture, and of the rendering of three dimensional form, and the assertion of the flat picture plane. (And although illusion of space is inherent in every drawing, as I have written about, in any case, the moderns took this illusion upon themselves not as a given tool with which to make convincing images but rather a point of question and examination and as a vehicle for expression of concepts of contradiction and paradox and dichotomy in life—the illusion of space being a subject in itself.) This recognition by modern artistic thought was a prerequisite foundation for the acceptance of the primacy and universality of the holy script. For the otiot are given to us as two-dimensional flat images and we do not know how otiot in three-dimensions would appear. Thus to recognize the primacy of the otiot, the world had to first reject the supremacy of the three-dimensional illusion in painting and accept the primacy of the two-dimensional flat picture plane which is true (not illusion).
And if one would counter: behold in the luchot habrit we know of three-dimensional otiot, for, behold, we are taught that the luchot had thickness and that the otiot were hollowed out thoroughly from one side to the other. Nevertheless, the three-dimensional aspect of the otiot in the luchot is nothing more than the projection of the same two-dimensional shape through the entire depth of the stone; the third-dimension having no distinction and adding no nuance that is not already expressed in the two-dimensional shape. This is in contrast to all three-dimensional objects in this world (and which are expressed in the three-dimensional illusion of form in painting where each of the three-dimensions of all forms (length, width, depth (or height)) all possess unique dimension and distinctness. Understand this well.
רבי טרפון אומר: היום קצר והמלכה מרובה והפועלים עצלים והשכר הרבה ובעל הבית דוחק.
(משנה אבות, ב’: כ’)
Rebbe Tarfon says, “The day is short, the work is great, the workers are lazy, the reward is great, and the Master is insistent.”
(Mishnah Avos 2:20)
Oil on canvas
ציור שמן על קנבס
90 cm. x 75 cm.