2012 - Vol. 63
from the Holy Land - art work series by David Kurani
of Galilee, watercolor, 18x25.5 cms, by David Kurani
Sea of Galilee
ruins, and archaeological treasures beckoning to an older way of life are
here. Fields planted with grain, rocky hillsides with pasturage for sheep
and goats are still to be seen, and the boats and nets of the fishermen
look like they might be unchanged from those of long ago. And on one side
there is Tiberias; with some older churches and a Roman sea-fort on its
waterfront. There are, of course, modern features too, like new buildings,
bungalows, and, surprisingly, eucalyptus trees brought in recently; they
are quick to grow in the local soil - shouldering aside the old stones
they encounter almost with impertinence; but they cannot change the gentle
hills and ancient topography.
from the Shepherd's Field, watercolor, 18x25.5 cms, by David Kurani.
from the Shepherd's Field
visited Bethlehem in the Easter of 1967. The Church of the Nativity can
be spotted as the high tower on the brow of the hill, center left in this
picture. I walked around the town with my mother and was affected by its
simplicity which seemed to resonate with its illustrious past; the unchanged
hills, the stone-cut walls, the white clay roofs and roads, and of course
the central grotto; once a simple stable, and now a lodestone for deep
Sinai and St. Catherine's Monastery, watercolor, 18x25.5 cms, by David
Sinai and St. Catherine's Monastery
have friends who have climbed to the peak of Mount Sinai (or 'Jabal Moussa'
- the mountains of Moses as it is known in the arabic of the locals). They
say it is a taxing but wonderfully inspirational climb - especially to
arrive to the peak at dawn and watch the glory of sunrise there. Truly
a "widening" experience hard to put into words but easy to perceive in
it the "finger of God". I imagine the plain encamped and full of people,
all facing the mountain which then shakes, thunders, is covered with smoke
and inspires the deepest and almost unbearable awe.
able to lie still in the quiet of the New Covenant, the mountain shelters
the Monastery of Saint Catherine at its foot - the smallest of the autocephalous
(independently governed) Orthodox churches (the largest being the Russian
Orthodox Church); an oasis of faith for pilgrims to the site, and a repository
for objects articulate of God's past actions.
before Mount Hermon, watercolor, 18x25.5 cms, by David Kurani
before Mount Hermon
in the wild are what many believe to be the "lilies of the field" that
Jesus referred to, comparing them to (and saying they surpassed) the glorious
robes of Solomon. There's an interesting note; Solomon's robes were probably
dyed Tyrean purple - that being the standard for the accoutrements of royalty
at the time since purple-colored cloth could be achieved in no other way
than by the expensive and jealously guarded secrets of the purple-dye trade
in nearby Tyre.
outside of Tyre there are mounds and even hills of the shells of the Murex
water snails; harvested from the sea-bed, each with a small hole bored
in the side to extract the precious ink for the dye. Depending on how it
was processed, the dye could give a range of colors from crimson through
the purples, to a deep indigo - just the same range as the anemones; red
but sometimes purple and even, occasionally, white. It's as though God
threw down a color gauntlet and said "There; match that;" which then man
more or less did - but not so effortlessly.
the background is Mount Hermon, one candidate for being the "high mountain"
of Jesus's transfiguration (the other candidate being Mount Tabor). From
Hermon one can see a vast panorama from the Lebanon mountains in the north,
to the Sea of Galilee in the south.
is a noted Lebanese landscape artist. He teaches classes in art and theater
at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. David has exhibited widely
in art galleries and private collections throughout Lebanon, Europe, and
the USA. He and his wife Gisele and their three sons are active members
of the People of God in Lebanon, a member community of the Sword of the