Through A Glass, Darkly (Art Horses #1)

Odille Esmonde-Morgan

GLENORCHY, Australia

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Artist's Description

The phrase I’ve selected for my title came immediately to mind when I saw this image, which was an idle experimental shot through the glass doors, while I was waiting for the local art gallery to open so I could get in and take shots for a local newspaper of these ‘Art Horses’, painted by famous artists. I wished I’d taken more afterwards!

Naturally I was prompted to look up the phrase, and found (Wikipedia) it is originally a Biblical quote: 1 Corinthians 13:12 contains the phrase βλεπομεν γαρ αρτι δι εσοπτρου εν αινιγματι’, which is rendered in the King James version as “For now we see through a glass, darkly.” This passage has inspired the titles of many works of music, film, poetry etc.

The word εσοπτρου (“esoptrou”, from εσοπτροv, “esoptron”) here translated glass is ambiguous, possibly referring to a mirror or a lens. Influenced by Strong’s Concordance, many modern translations conclude that this word refers specifically to a mirror.
Example English language translations include:
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror (New International Version)
What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror (Good News Bible)

Paul’s usage is in keeping with rabbinic use of the term אספקלריה (aspaklaria), a borrowing from the Latin specularia. This has the same ambiguous meaning, although Adam Clarke concluded that it was a reference to specularibus lapidibus, clear polished stones used as lenses or windows.

One way to preserve this ambiguity is to use the English cognate, speculum. Rabbi Judah ben Ilai (2nd century) was quoted as saying “All the prophets had a vision of God as He appeared through nine specula” while “Moses saw God through one speculum.”

The Babylonian Talmud states similarly “All the prophets gazed through a speculum that does not shine, while Moses our teacher gazed through a speculum that shines.”

I have been revisiting my Art Horses Australia images. At that time I was working for a local paper and they sent me along to take some pictures, with my own camera. Normally you cannot take pics inside the gallery so I was very privileged. I have tried to find the Art Horses Australia site but it seems to have disappeared, and I have no record of which artist painted which horse(s). There were a lot more than the 7 we had locally, as I have found pictures of other ones from galleries in Wagga Wagga and Victoria in my web searches.

This exhibition was held in conjunction with Art Horses Australia at the Tweed River Art Gallery from 11 October – 18 November 2007 and presented a display of seven life size horses, each uniquely designed and painted by well known Australia Artists.

In conjunction with Art Horses Australia seven life size horses, each uniquely designed and painted by well known Australian artists, were made available. It was a memorable spectacle which combined elements of street theatre and public art. Exhibition Curator, Jacqueline Taylor OAM says “The familiar form of the horse combined with spectacular and inventive imagery surprises and delights viewers of all ages.”

And I am honoured to have had this work featured in:
JPG Cast Offs – 5 April 2011

Canon 300D & 28090 zoom

Artwork Comments

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