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Michael Hafftka Biblical Paintings ©2010. Tree of Life 46”x38” oil on canvas ©2005 And the LORD God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to.

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Presentation on theme: "Michael Hafftka Biblical Paintings ©2010. Tree of Life 46”x38” oil on canvas ©2005 And the LORD God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Michael Hafftka Biblical Paintings ©2010

2 Tree of Life 46”x38” oil on canvas ©2005 And the LORD God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.’ Genesis 3:22 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition Everything needs it and yearns for it, and seeks to glimpse that tree and, at the end of their lives, the souls of the righteous ascend on high attaching themselves to this tree. p. 121, 154 The Cosmic Tree, Tree of Souls, The Mythology of Judaism, Howard Schwartz, Oxford University Press 2004.

3 Cain 18”x14” oil on canvas © )Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the land; and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me.' 15)And the LORD said unto him: 'Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the LORD set a sign for Cain, lest any finding him should smite him. 16)And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. Genesis 4:14-16 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

4 Before the Flood 30”x40” oil on canvas ©2003 And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Genesis 6:13 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

5 The Flood 60”x48” oil on canvas ©2007 And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every thing that is in the earth shall perish. Genesis 6:17 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

6 Noah’s Doves 38”x46” oil on canvas ©2005 And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground. Genesis 8:8 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

7 Babel 60”x48” oil on canvas ©2008 7)Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' 8)So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city. 9)Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:7-9 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

8 Covenant Between the Pieces 78”x62” oil on canvas © )And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and there was thick darkness, behold a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces. 18)In that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: 'Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; Genesis 15:17-18 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

9 Sarah 60”x48” oil on canvas © )And God said unto Abraham: 'As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16)And I will bless her, and moreover I will give thee a son of her; yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be of her.' 17)Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart: 'Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?’ Genesis 17:15-17 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

10 Akidah - Rebirth 60”x48” oil on canvas ©2009 9)And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built the altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. 10)And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. Genesis22:9-10 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

11 Jacob’s Ladder 60”x48” oil on canvas ©2007 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. Genesis28:12 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

12 Coat of Many Colors 40”x30” oil on canvas ©1996 3)Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours. 4)And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him. Genesis 37:23 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

13 Potiphar 24”x18” oil on canvas ©2001 And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh's, the captain of the guard. Genesis37:36 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

14 The Blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh 78”x62” oil on canvas ©1997 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born. Genesis37:36 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

15 Crossing the Red Sea 60”x48” oil on canvas © )And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Wherefore criest thou unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. 16)And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:15-16 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

16 Nachshon, Without Hesitation 46”x38” oil on canvas ©2000 4)And with you there shall be a man of every tribe, every one head of his fathers' house. 5)And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you:… 5)Of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab. 13)These were the elect of the congregation, the princes of the tribes of their fathers; they were the heads of the thousands of Israel. Genesis 1:4-5, 7, 16 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition “When Israel, beset by the Egyptians, reached the sea, the tribes among themselves started quarreling who should first go into the sea. Then suddenly Nahshon, the prince of Judah, plunged into the sea, firmly trusting that God would stand by Israel in their need.” P 195, The Legends of the Jews, Volume 3, Louis Ginzberg

17 Forty Years 78”x100” oil on canvas © And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them: Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 2 the great trials which thine eyes saw, the signs and those great wonders; 3 but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 4 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 5 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink; that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 29:1-5 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

18 The Promised Land 78”x62” oil on canvas © )And the LORD spoke unto Moses that selfsame day, saying: 49)'Get thee up into this mountain of Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession; 50)and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people. 51)Because ye trespassed against Me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribath- kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified Me not in the midst of the children of Israel. 52)For thou shalt see the land afar off; but thou shalt not go thither into the land which I give the children of Israel.' Deuteronomy 32:48-52 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

19 Balaam and His Ass 46”x38” oil on canvas © And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And God's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the LORD placed himself in the way for an adversary against him.--Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.— 23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field; and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a hollow way between the vineyards, a fence being on this side, and a fence on that side. 25 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD, and she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; and he smote her again. 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD, and she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with his staff. 28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam: 'What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?' 29 And Balaam said unto the ass: 'Because thou hast mocked me; I would there were a sword in my hand, for now I had killed thee.' 30 And the ass said unto Balaam: 'Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden all thy life long unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee?' And he said: 'Nay.' 31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed his head, and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him: 'Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I am come forth for an adversary, because thy way is contrary unto me; 33 and the ass saw me, and turned aside before me these three times; unless she had turned aside from me, surely now I had even slain thee, and saved her alive.’ Numbers 22:21-33 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

20 Sanctuary 78”x62” oil on canvas ©2002 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them--it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. Eaekiel 37:26 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

21 Battlefield 78”x62” oil on canvas © And David said unto him: 'From whence comest thou?' And he said unto him: 'Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.' 4 And David said unto him: 'How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me.' And he answered: 'The people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also.' 5 And David said unto the young man that told him: 'How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son are dead?' 6 And the young man that told him said: 'As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and the horsemen pressed hard upon him. 7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered: Here am I. 8 And he said unto me: Who art thou? And I answered him: I am an Amalekite. 9 And he said unto me: Stand, I pray thee, beside me, and slay me, for the agony hath taken hold of me; because my life is just yet in me. 10 So I stood beside him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen; and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.' 11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him. 12 And they wailed, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. 2 Samuel 1:3-12 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

22 Ecclesiastes 16”x12” oil on canvas ©2006 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

23 The Hill, Jerusalem 78”x224” oil on canvas ©1985, in the collection of Yeshiva University Museum, NY 6)Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Topheth, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter; 7)and I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of them that seek their life; and their carcasses will I give to be food for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; 8)and I will make this city an astonishment, and a hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof; 9)and I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend, in the siege and in the straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their life, shall straiten them. Jeremiah 19:6-9 The Hebrew Bible in English according to the JPS 1917 Edition

24 Man of Sorrows 78”x62” oil on canvas © 'Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed? 15 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him. 16 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 17 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 18 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed. 19 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all. 20 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth. 21 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due. 22 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.' 23 Yet it pleased the LORD to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper by his hand: 24 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear. 25 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:14-25 The Hebrew Bible JPS 1917 Edition

25 Guide For The Perplexed 3 panels, each 60"x48" oil on canvas But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13-14 New Testament King James Version

26 Total Submission 78”x62” oil on canvas ©1986 ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Psalm 22:2; Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46

27 Deposition 78”x200” oil on canvas © )Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41)Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42)There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. John 19:40-42 New Testament King James Version

28 Guardian Angel 78”x62” oil on canvas ©1995 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 18:10 New Testament King James Version

29 An Explanation of my Style of Painting I am often asked why my paintings are dark. Maybe it is because I am a pessimist, albeit a happy pessimist, who tries relentlessly to feign optimism. Yet deep inside me I always feel the worst is going to happen. The world I express is one where children are born into harsh existence and spend their days struggling. That is why I paint an atmosphere that is filled with darkness, with unrealistic and distorted figures that are identifiable yet purposely ambiguous. I often ask myself why I chose to do something that is difficult to explain to others. For myself I need no explanations because the reward is in the moment of creating and in the results. I have great respect for realism. But for myself realism is inadequate to express some often difficult and contradictory feelings. Rather than see and render I feel and render. To do this I have to invent my own style and let go of the certainty that is in visual perceptions. I create from a visceral experience. When I finish a painting it looks beautiful to me; it brings out into the open many emotions, and I embrace them even if they are frightening, because I recognize my reality in them. When I was a child my father told me he crossed the border into Germany from Poland, after escaping the death that befell his family at Treblinka. He was alone in the forest at night, deserted and betrayed by a man whom he paid with his last coin to help him cross the border. He couldn’t go backwards and going forwards was terrifying. He survived the war as a slave on false papers with a fake name, in a place where the exhausted slaves were thrown live into the furnace when they could no longer work. My mother also survived the war, but she never mentioned anything from her past, not even that her mother was still alive in Hungary. I think my father’s depressing stories and my mother’s horrible silence and anxiety infused me with a worldview that is dark and frightening. There is a beauty to showing things as they are, even if in disrepair, and creating in the same manner in which the world is created by the fragile unpredictability of chance. I like to use traditional media like oil on linen and watercolors on paper. Before I start I often wait for hours, sometimes days, for a feeling to overtake me. Then I feel I am being guided. I don’t plan, I don’t intend to do anything in particular (except to some degree when I do a portrait) and I only know the outcome when I finish. During the creative process a torrent of feelings and thoughts brings on a flood of responses to what I am painting. I often feel excited, illuminated and joyful! My editorial faculties are then in my gut rather than my intellect. In painting I am able to express what I cannot express with words, with realism or with abstraction. I am bringing into focus a reality that is urgent for me and which I live to acknowledge. © Michael Hafftka Brooklyn NY 2010


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