Thursday, November 5, 2009

See the "Holy Land" at the Nasher!

You still have a few weeks to catch a wonderful exhibit of the seminal figure David Roberts at Duke's Nasher Museum of Art.

Today we take for granted what the Holy Land looks like, but back in the early 19th century people knew of it only through verbal and textual descriptions. That all changed with Roberts, who gave the general public in Europe and America their first visual encounter with the region. A brief synopsis of the exhibit from the Nasher's website is below. Visit the Nasher's site for the exhibit to learn even more by clicking here.


David Roberts (1796-1864) of Scotland was one of the first major European artists to travel in the Middle East, sketching its landscapes and religious sites. He arrived in 1838, after the region had been reopened by Napoleon's expeditions. He traveled from the Sinai peninsula northward to the ancient ruins of Baalbec, in what is now modern-day Lebanon. Enduring the rigors of the land and the climate, Roberts recorded the historical sites along his route, producing hundreds of drawings with notes on light, color, local customs and dress. After Roberts returned to London, his sketches, now mostly lost, became the basis for 125 color lithographs by the printmaker Louis Haghe (1806-1885). They were published from 1842-1844 as "The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, and Nubia," giving the general public its first glimpse of the biblical landscape and monuments previously known only by verbal descriptions.

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