April: Illuminated Bible
The Scrolls Illuminated by Fiona Pfennigwerth cracks open five books of the Old Testament to give us a glimpse of the mysterious nature of God and the human condition.
Each habitat chosen — spring’s vibrant sensuousness in the country for The Song of Solomon for example (see detail above) — is depicted with great care and perceptiveness.
The illustrations penetrate the “earth” of the manuscript to help it yield deeper meaning. It dawns on us that we can start afresh.
We realise we can find life and hope through looking at the stories with inspired eyes — rediscovering hidden treasure in what, for some, may have become flavourless text.
The ebb and flow of a tidal mudflat echoes the themes of Ecclesiastes; the damage of bushfire and muted palette of the Australian bush reflects the grief of Lamentations; the lushness of a rainforest portrays the royal opulence of the book of Esther; and harvest crops and colours draw out the story of Ruth.
Scrolls is not commentary or natural history but rather a contemplative and uniquely visual exploration of the Bible to help extend and sustain us.
As Easter, the Psalmist and Pfennigwerth all encourage us: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord!”
Illustrated letter Y: Lillypilly Szygium crebinerve and Scentless rosewood Synoum glandulosum.