Monday, May 25, 2009

A window of peace

While exploring Jerusalem together, my visiting grandsons and I discovered this by chance!
We just happened to wander into the library of the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University.

Measuring 16 x 6 meters/yards, this creation is among the largest stained glass windows ever made.
Mordechai Ardon was one of the great painters of Israel. Towards the end of his life the message of peace became his focus, and he addressed his work to war-weary Israel. The theme of his window, executed in 1980-84 for the National Library of Israel, is the prophet Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 2:2-4) of eternal peace at the End of Days.

In the photo above, broken modern weapons and shells are turned into spades. "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

"And many peoples shall come and say: 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.' " The left panel depicts the roads taken by the nations on their way up to Jerusalem. Each road is marked by the verse, "Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord…" in several different languages and alphabets including Latin, Greek, and Arabic.
The red middle panel is my favorite.
At the bottom is Jerusalem's city wall as mentioned in Isaiah. But look carefully! The wall is not of stone; it is a spiritual wall, the Scroll of Isaiah itself, which was discovered at Qumran among the Dead Sea Scrolls!
The parchment floating above the "wall" reads "And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares."
The network of blue circles and lines is the Kabbalistic Tree of Sefirot, a symbol of the mystical Divine Presence (Shechinah) over the city. The composition of Sefirot made of concentric circles is also derived from the Book of Zohar.

On the east side of the National Library, facing the rising sun, the stained glass window covers the entire wall of the mezzanine lobby to the General Reading Room.

The building houses the National Library of Israel, the National Library of the Jewish People,
and the main research-level Humanities Library of the Hebrew University.
As the Philately Service wrote when it issued stamps of Ardon's windows,
"The close connection between the subject of the windows - Jerusalem - and their position in the library, the hall of the eternal spirit of Jewishness and Humanism, is obvious. It was the artist himself who chose this place for his creation and it was the place itself which gave him inspiration."
Here is the entire stained glass window in a photo from the Library website.
The assembling was carried out by master-craftsman Charles Marc at the "Atelier Simon" in Rheims, France. It took two years to complete.
Although nearly 90, Mordechai Ardon participated actively in the execution of his great work.
Other guided tours of beautiful places in the world will be available from tonight at the friendly meme That's My World Tuesday. You're welcome to join or visit.


Anonymous said...

You really do have some magnificent windows in this post. Your photography is excellent to capture it all.

RuneE said...

That kind of window is an art beyond imagination. I hope it will last.

Reader Wil said...

They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
This was also the motto of our peace movements.The window might well be the largest in the western world. It is very impressive and breath-takingly beautiful. Thanks for the story behind this piece of art! Have a great day. I hope you don't have to make too much hay! I don't know what the bales look like. I thought round!

Robin said...

How beautiful. Stained glass holds a special place in my heart, and one with a message of peace even more so.

Ebie said...

Stained glass windows have always captivated me and the photos are just perfect composition.

Kay said...

This is such a perfect day for this post. May there be Peace everywhere.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

what a lovely find, especially when walking with children!

Maria said...

When I read your post I am overwhelmed of how deep mankind has longed for the "eternal peace at the End of Days" . I also long for it! Spades instead of weaponsl.. Thank you for sharing, Dina!

Gaelyn said...

It is a stunning piece of art and a powerful message that I hope comes true, especially for those two little boys.

JM said...

The stained glass window is huge and really nice!

Guy D said...

Fantastic window art, that is most excellent. Great pics as always!

Have a great week
Regina In Pictures

Janie said...

Wow, that's amazingly beautiful stained glass.

raphaelleae said...

Beautiful Dina
This is wonderful thankyou for the description that adds so much meaning to the work.

I love stained glass windows it is the outside light of the day bleeding through the work so I love the blue and white of peace, the soft whisper of the clouds and the blue sky with the majestic strength of divinity as you say in the kabbalistic tree.

have a beautiful day filled with love and light.
and thankyou.

Carver said...

This was a very interesting post and the stained glass is so beautiful.

Ann said...

That window is absolutely stunning.

Pietro said...

Very significant and impressive art work, Dina.
I'm thinking of the great Pablo Ruiz Picasso's words (I write the phrase in Italian as I've not the translation): "La mia speranza più profonda è che il mio lavoro abbia contribuito a impedire, in futuro, altre guerre".

Vagabonde said...

This is a wonderful piece of art, the blue is luminous. It reminds me of the blue in the stained glass window, called window for Peace, by Marc Chagall for the Cordelier Chapel in Sarrebourg, France. They were also made for him by Charles Marq workshop in Rheims in the 70s; maybe that’s why the blue is similar. I’ll try to find a link to a picture for you, here is one:

spacedlaw said...

Lovely piece and indeed, the central panel is so vibrant.

Arija said...

Fantastic post Dina! I love the window, any monument to peace gets my vote but this is so well thought out as well. The colours and the incorporated scroll are marvellous.

Wolynski said...

What an amazing stained-glass window - maybe the most beautiful in the world. Wonderful photos.

hip chick said...

Wow! What a beautiful work of art.

Eki Qushay Akhwan said...

I like the beauty and the beautiful message this work of art brings, Dina.

If only we could all learn to listen to the messages of our prophets without any reservations and learn from the Divinely inspired wisdoms ... Peace is what we all need. But peace can only flourish when the soil where it grows contains enough justice.

Regina said...

Beautiful stained glass. Great shots Dina. Thanks for sharing.

Sailor Girl said...

It's BEAUTIFUL, Dina!!! Thank you for sharing with us!!!!

Vagabonde said...

Thanks for the link to Chagall’s chapel in your area, it is truly exceptional. I believe art has no borders and unite all the people everywhere. I see that it was an earlier post of yours in 2008. When we are back from our trip, I’ll get back to your blog and read your earlier posts, you have so many interesting ones.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to run a google search on Charles Marc and Mordechai Ardon. Very beautiful. I always appreciate contemporary stained glass. What I appreciate most is the colors that the glass disperses throughout the room it occupies. At this size it must be extraordinary.

Are those the grandkids? cute

Karen said...

What a beautiful piece of stained glass art !!!

Great shots of it !!

Annie said...

What a wonderful window! Thank you so much for showing us!


Catherine said...

Thanks Dina to share this work of Art. Stained glass windows, even modern ones, are wonderful, they play with light, and are always changing.