Vision of Ezekiel

David Bomberg, Vision of Ezekiel, 1912. Oil paint on canvas, Tate Britain

The biblical book of Ezekiel records seven visions of the prophet Ezekiel, who was exiled from Judah to Babylon from 593 B.C.E. to 572 B.C.E. The book begins with Ezekiel’s vision of Yahweh, the god of Israel, anticipating the destruction of the  Jerusalem temple and closes with a promise from God for a new beginning. This work, by the British artist David Bomberg (1890–1957), depicts a vision in which God guides the prophet Ezekiel to a valley of bones and asks, “Can these dry bones live?” Bomberg’s composition breathes life into the stick-like figures, lifeless and animated at the same time. The bright discontinuity of the colors adds to the sense of resurrection. Bomberg may have chosen this subject after the sudden death of his mother, with whom he was very close.

David Bomberg, Vision of Ezekiel, 1912.

The promise made by Yahweh to the ancestors in Genesis, including the promise of offspring, land, and blessing. Eventually the covenant becomes the essential part of this promise.

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