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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Art

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ART . Among the Hebrews the fine arts, with the possible exception of music, were not seriously cultivated (cf. Architecture). The law of Exodus 20:4 constituted an effective bar to the development of the plastic art in particular. As to the nature and workmanship of the early ephods ( Judges 8:27; Judges 17:5 ) and teraphim ( Genesis 31:19 , Judges 17:5 , 1 Samuel 19:13 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ), as of the ‘graven images’ and the later ‘molten images,’ we can only speculate. Sculpture in wood, but of PhÅ“nician workmanship, both in relief ( 1 Kings 6:18; 1 Kings 6:29 ) and in the round ( 1 Kings 6:23 ff.), found a place in the Temple of Solomon. The only specimens yet discovered of ‘genuine Israelite’ sculpture (according to the discoverer, Professor Sellin) are the beardless human heads (cherubim?), foreparts of lions and other motifs that adorn the unique altar of incense from Taanach (illust. PEFSt [Note: Quarterly Statement of the same.] , 1904, 390).

Of painting there is no trace in OT. The coloured representations which Ezekiel saw with abhorrence on the Temple walls were not true paintings, but, as the original implies, figures chiselled in outline, with the contours filled in with vermilion (Ezekiel 23:14 f., cf. Ezekiel 8:10 ). The decorative work on pure Hebrew pottery was practically confined to geometrical designs. Of the minor arts, gem-engraving must have attained considerable development ( Exodus 28:11 ). The finest product of modern excavation in Palestine in the domain of art is probably the Hebrew seal with the lion marchant found at Megiddo (see Seals). Mention may also be made of the filigree and other gold work implied in such passages as Exodus 28:11 f. The products of the Hebrew looms must also have shown considerable artistic merit ( Exodus 26:1 ). See, further, Jewels, Music, Seals, Temple, Spinning and Weaving.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Art'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/a/art.html. 1909.

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