During the course of Western Art History there have been several ages when many of the great works of art produced were inspired by the Bible and stories were communicated to the masses through these artworks in the years before the advent of the printing press and the level of literacy permitted many people to read the stories directly from a printed volume. Certainly this is true during the Middle Ages and much of the Renaissance in Europe.
During the many years since then, great artists such as Rembrandt, William Blake (who not only illustrated Poems, but wrote them), Eugene Delacroix (in his drawings based on the plays of Shakespeare) and several other very notable masters were inspired to create visual artworks based on literature. The practice has continued to the present day. During the 70’s, Larry Rivers created a series of paintings based on the violence in Shakespeare’s dramatic plays. Picasso illustrated the poetry of Guilluame Apollinaire, and David Hockney in his early years created a series based on “the Blue Guitar” by the Egyptian poet Kefavy.
Certainly in earlier ages, the point of the great artworks was intended to illustrate stories and instruct the people about their literary source---the Bible. In later years the inspiration of the Bible and in other cases, plays or poetry was often to create a visual image corresponding to the ideas in the source material, while not serving as mere illustration of the source materials.
The BY THE BOOK exhibit at Arts Guild New Jersey brings together the varied artworks of seven artists who still find that literature---another art form----can serve as a stepping stone to the creation of complex visual works which can communicate much of the impression of their literary sources.
The Featured Artists are: Adel Gorgy, Siona Benjamin, Kenneth Kaplowitz, Lou Storey, Harriet Finck, Howard Lerner, Tracie Fracasso, Robert Eustace and Winston Young.