Friday, March 14, 2008

I AM THE....

I AM THE...., originally uploaded by fotofacade.

Must be viewed large to appreciate the detail

This is one of the most unusual reredos' I have photographed. It was designed by the first incumbent, the Rev E W Gilbert. Intertwined with the vine are the words 'I am the' - see them?

A friend of mine David Morris has sent in this wonderful explanation about this work of art:-

The complete quote is from John 15 verse 5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing". There is also a wider context of Christ being the "true vine" (John 15 1-17). The most important word, "vine", however is rendered unnecessary by the sculpture, suggesting the power of art to communicate truth, a theme of the time.

Notice how the introductory words "I am the" are carefully hidden amongst the vine leaves and branches. The words "I Am" in Hebrew are the name for God, which Christ used with regard to himself on several occasions, including the vine quote - see . In the context of the 1870s, when a combination of Darwinism and Ruskinism had led to the celebration of nature in art (such as this), I think there is a deeper meaning which says "I Am" (or God) is behind, or part and parcel, of all nature if only one has "eyes to see" through the physical representation.

Saint Edmund's, Falinge near Rochdale - is a real tour-de-force. Built in the 1870's for £28,000 (when a good church cost £4000). It is a Masonic Church and Pevsner says that it has symbolism to rival the Da Vinci Code Rosslyn Chapel. I am photographing the interior because it is due to close this month.

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