Shahar Bram. The Ambassadors of Death :
The Sister Arts, Western Canon and the Silent Lines of a Hebrew Survivor / Shahar
Bram ; translated by Batya Stein ; poems co-translated by Lisa Katz and
Shahar Bram. -- Brighton : Portland : Toronto : Sussex Academic Press, 2011.
Tuvia Rübner, winner of Israel Prize for Poetry (2008), is a Hebrew poet who lost his family in the Holocaust. He turned his personal trauma into a broad world view that engages with Western culture, his poetry highlighting correspondences with paintings by Chagall, Breughel, Holbein, Turner and Rembrandt. Death and loss are molding experiences in this poet's world. Paint and sculpture masterpieces are signalled as masks, as Ambassadors of Death. Rübner's poems enable us to examine the tradition of various forms of artistic representation, while addressing the experience of art in a century when God 'hid his face' from the fate of European Jewry. And as Shahar Bram discovers and elaborates, herein lies an exquisite example of the use of ekphrasis -- Rübner using his poetic language medium to explain and process the meaning and messages inherent in a select group of paintings and sculptures of cultural significance. This important book contributes to the interdisciplinary theory of "word and image", and the history of the relationships between "sister arts". The result is not only a unique perspective of traditional Western art form as reflected in the eyes of a Hebrew survivor of twentieth-century Holocaust atrocities, but, in the words of Ruskin, it is "the expression of one soul [one artistic form] talking to another". The result is a profound understanding of the central principles of word and image art forms.
Table of contents:
Introduction. Achilles' Shield. Ekphrasis, ut pictura poesis and Tuvia Rübner.
One. The Fall. Peter Breughel's The Fall of Icarus, Marc Chagall's The Fall of Icarus and Tuvia Rübner's "The Fall". Poetry and painting: basic questions of comparison: the museum of words: Rübner's book
Two. The Ambassadors of Death. Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors and Tuvia Rübner's "The Ambassadors". The portrait: the ambassador of death, a guide to the silent museum of words.
Three. Horse and Rider. Simone Martini's Guidoriccio da Fogliano and Tuvia Rübner's "Horse and Rider". The paradoxical animation of death in poetry. Rübner's voyage towards death. The Photograph in Rübner's world.
Four. The Silence of Words. Tuvia Rübner's "Two Zen Paintings". Rübner's use of Haiku and Zen. The image in poetry. Imagism. Poetics of Space.
Five. The Structure of Narrative.
David Friedrich's Chalk Cliffs on Rügen and Tuvia Rübner's "Chalk Cliffs on Rügen". Renaissance vs. Romanticism. Narrative poetics in painting and poetry.
Six. The Chaos of Colors and the Order of Words. Joseph Mallord William Turner's Peace -- Burial at Sea
and Tuvia Rübner's "The Ship". The language of paintings.
Painting as text. The inseparable world of word and image.
Seven. The Fallen Angel and the Survivor's Burning
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn' Descent from the Cross and
Tuvia Rübner's "Descent from the Cross". Word and image in the
religious world. The survivor and the story of redemption. Past,
memory and the survivor as a living dead. Walter Benjamin. The
end of the journey is in the beginning: Rübner, the heavenly
beauty of the dead image, and the fallen angel.
Epilogue: Ekphrasis, Mimesis and the Difference between
Word and Image.