Perceive the entire Torah at a glance
Perceive the entire Gematriart Torah at a glance
Reproducing the Torah word for word as colour swatches allows the viewer to perceive the entire Torah simultaneously, without turning one’s head.
The structure of the Gematriart Torah artwork, in the international language of colour, visually guides the audience through the work.
Each of the Five Books of Moses, the Torah, is presented as a panel, running in the Hebrew direction of right to left. Whilst the five sections convey that the composition is five (of something), the right to left direction is evident from the inclusion of the larger squares denoting the start of each section. These are in the format of a drop capital letter, alluding to this representation of a text.
The drop capitals, each representing the name of the Torah book it heads, are in a Jewish Ashkenazic (Germanic in origin) style in an angular form. These are complemented, at the foot of each column, with the final lines of each book, centred in a style seen in Sephardic (Spanish in origin) manuscripts, enhancing the international theme of the work.
The original artwork is designed as a composition of five panels – each panel containing one of the Five Books of Moses. Combined dimension of the artwork is 140cm wide by 89cm deep (55" x 35"). If viewed from a distance of 140cm (55"), even the finest line detail is discernible and the entire image falls within a 60° observer angle – encompassing the colour accurate span of human vision.
The Torah text is reproduced, each word in its Gematriart colour, flowing in the Hebrew reading direction of right to left. The square initial blocks representing each of the five book names are filled with an olive-green colour, the result of mixing the colour of every word in each book to create an average colour.
I set the following design parameters in order to create this work to perceive the entire Torah at a glance:
Standing a 150cm (60") distance from the work (the optimum distance for focussing on viewing artwork), the entire work should fall within a 60° viewing angle (this being the span of human colour accurate vision). This confines the work to a maximum of 150cm (60") width.
For the individual colour squares to be discernible, each needs to be a minimum of 2mm x 2mm (0.08" x 0.08").
To be portable (ie to fit the width of my car), the maximum height of the work can be 89cm (35").
This resulted in the artwork being of similar proportions to the width to height ratio of the Ark as described in the Torah – 2.5 cubit wide by 1.5 cubit high. This provided the inspiration for enclosing the work in a gold edged wood frame, with gold rings on the four corners (of the short sides), as described in the Torah.
On completion of the large but portable work (yes it does just fit in the back of the car), I considered how the 2.5 x 1.5 cubit ratio of the work compared in scale to the size of the original Ark. Phenomenally, the definition of a biblical cubit (when used for describing an item of importance), resulted in the size of the artwork being a perfect match to the size of the Ark in the Tabernacle, as described in the Torah. That likewise was constructed to be ‘portable’ and in context this suggests that when the high priest was in the Holy of Holies, his span of perfect colour vision perfectly encompassed the entire Ark at a single glance – without the need to turn his head.
NOTE: In poster format, this work is reproduced at a reduced scale of 70cm x 50cm (27.5" x 19.5").