Since the very first cave paintings were created, art has always been infused with the spiritual. Across cultures we find again and again the life of the spirit animating art. Ancient Egypt left behind Falcon Headed Sun Gods. In India, Bodhisattvas were depicted. In Thailand, sculptures of Buddhas dominated the landscapes. Ancient Olmec creations are found in Mexico as well as the Mexican Maize Gods of the ancient Mayans. In India the vast number of ancient gods are beautifully depicted in many forms. As for Western culture, variations of the crucifixion and depictions of the Holy Family are too numerous to count.
This tradition of art depicting the spiritual is continued in Santa Barbara by painter Brian Shapiro’s most current show at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. His contemporary narrative paintings depict biblical scenes that may be familiar to many. The paintings are based on well-known stories from the Old Testament, otherwise known as the Chumash, or the Five Books of the Torah. Adding additional depth to the exhibit are several artifacts of the Karpeles’ permanent collection. Thus, several paintings placed in ancient Egypt share space with Egyptians artifacts, and a painting of Moses holding the Ten Commandments hangs above a rescued ancient Torah scroll. Anyone wanting to enter into a visual dialogue with spirituality is invited to see the show and comment in the guest book. Leave your e-mail to receive future listings.
The Karpeles Manuscript Museum, located at 21 West Anapamu, Santa Barbara, is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 12:00 noon to 4 pm. The Museum is closed Monday and Tuesday.