Sunday, November 11, 2007

Devotion and the Song of Songs

It is this link between this lyrical book of the Bible, and the mystical experience that underlies much of Bhakti, or devotional poetry in India, that I tried in the following years to explore through a series of paintings on the Song of Songs, understood in the context of Indian love poetry, which has also been interpreted in a mystical sense. Fr. Abraham Mariaselvam, had made a study on “The Song of Songs and Ancient Tamil Love Poems” (Analecta Biblica 118, Editrie Pontificio Istituto Biblico—Roma 1988) I also found fascinating a collection of Tamil love poems, along with an introduction to the underlying symbolism behind these ancient works of the first centuries of the Christian Era, presented by A K. Ramanujan in a small book “The Interior Landscape” O.U.P 1994.

The series of sketches and notes which I made on the Song of Songs in 1988 became the basis for an Art Retreat and series of canvases that I developed between 1990 and 1994. They were eventually published by Fr. J. Ubelmesser in Weltweit, 1996.

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