Posts tagged with: Design

Moses Had Horns?

Horny Moses

It's true. Moses used to have horns. Sort of.

In the early 5th Century, when Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate, he misinterpreted the story of Moses' encounters with God at Mt. Sinai.

Exodus 34:29-35 describes Moses as having a supernatural radiance to his face after each encounter with God. The effect was so striking that it frightened the Israelites and he donned a veil to hide his face from them.1

When Jerome translated this passage into Latin the part about Moses' face being radiant, or emanating rays of light was mistranslated as him having "protruding horns".

"Radiance emanating from his face" became "horns protruding from his head".

Artists of the time seized on this esoteric idea and all depictions of Moses from this period show him sporting little goat-like horns.

Long after this mistake had been accounted for, artists persisted in using the horns to depict Moses because it served as such an iconic device for identifying him. The most famous example being Michaelangelo's sculpture created for the tomb of Pope Julius II.

So for a time, Moses had horns.

  1. It would seem that in our fallen state we are not prepared for even a reflection of God's true glory.

Dennis Jones' See With Me Bible

See With Me Bible

Last month on Easter Sunday we were the sponsors at the baptism of our friends' baby boy, Jacob. As a gift Jennifer picked up a children's picture Bible called the See With Me Bible, illustrated by Dennis Jones. I was blown away by the quality of his work.

Jones' style is lush, whimsical, and filled with humor. The Bible stories are told solely through the illustrations with no accompanying text except for a short one-sentence message at the end of each story.

The most notable feature of the illustration work are the character designs. Each character depiction is unique and easily identifiable, from Adam and Eve, Noah, and Moses through Jesus and the Disciples. They're all painted with exaggerated poses and features, each with their own subtle nuances.

While the exaggerated characters are what make the work so appealing, I found the depiction of Jesus to be a little over-the-top. He looks too much like a comic book super hero.1

Jones paints in gauche and post-processes the illustrations in Photoshop, adding a few digital effects like depth of field blur.

Many of the illustrations from the book are available online as prints. I may have to pick up a few.

  1. I struggle with our Westernized stereotypical image of Jesus. While we can only guess at what Jesus looked like we do know he wasn't a white guy. This is a topic not easily resolved, especially, I imagine, when trying to publish a children's book.