The Tree of Knowledge (From Images of Jewish Continuum)
70 x 48 in. (177.8 x 121.9 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds provided by Benjamin, Edward, & George Bernstein, and Mr. Milton Ginsburg
This five panel mural, painted between 1977 and 1979, was acquired in 1980 and originally installed in the Wister Library Annex (later the campus store).
The intention of the artist was to embrace the epic of a living people from an evolving culture spanning 4000 years. The references as translated into abstracted symbols span both traditional and contemporary responses to Jewish history and Old Testament narrative. The panels are placed to be read from right to left, as in the Hebrew language. It shows a fusion of eternal symbols of earth, sand, sky, and Jewish symbols of a talit (the white and blue-violet prayer shawl), and shofar (the silhouetted ram's horn on the right base edge of the blood-red sky). The final image, Contemporary Israel, is an obscured star of David, housed within a Torah, the law and the first five books (Pentateuch).