Visual Arts06 Feb 2008 11:24 am
With the rise of literacy throughout the West, the storytelling function of art has declined significantly. First books, then newspapers and periodicals and now motion pictures are the primary method for telling stories in our culture. There was an earlier time, however, when visual art had an important narrative function. This was particularly true of devotional art: only the church elite could read the (then-untranslated) Bible, so it was important for major Biblical stories to be depicted in painting, mosaic, stained glass, even silverware.
A major work in this respect is The David Plates, a series of 9 silver plates depicting the story of the Biblical David. The plates were rediscovered in Cyprus in 1902, and today four of them remain on the island and the other five reside at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (a gift from J. P. Morgan). The plates depict the major episodes in David’s life, from the moment that Samuel anointed him the true King of Israel to the confrontation at the center of one of the most famous stories in the Bible: the fight between David and Goliath.
For more on The David Plates, click here.
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