web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Home » Sections » Arts »

The Purim Narrative At The Pardo Palace

Weck-022412-FrontPg

Jerónimo Cabrera, Esther crowned Queen, Queen’s Room, Pardo.

This interpretation gets complicated, though, when one considers that despite Memuchan’s recommendation to Ahaseurus that he replace the disobedient Vashti with “her peer who is more worthy than she,” Ahaseurus effectively launches a beauty pageant to choose his next queen. Esther may have been worthy because of her obedience, but the thrust of the story is not one of obedience, but of physical beauty. Indeed, the megillah goes out of its way to use both the terms “yifat to’ar” and “tovat mar’eh” to describe Esther’s beauty, perhaps hinting at both external and internal beauty.

Ahaseurus, hedonist that he is, seems primarily concerned with superficialities throughout the narrative rather than obedience. Though Mordechai saves the king’s life, his heroic act doesn’t help save his people from Haman; Esther’s appearance, which “finds favor in his eyes,” does. This chronological development escapes Krain’s interpretation; Ahaseurus can hardly embrace Esther for her loyalty to her people when her loyalty is only displayed long after he has fallen for her.

It seems that Cabrera may have intended to collapse the narrative in some places, however, as the bearded figure, who places the crown on Esther’s head, looks quite similar to the figure of Mordechai, who is later paraded on the king’s horse. Of course, the figure could just be a bearded man, but particularly within the larger Purim narrative—which is all about reality being turned upside down, and real and metaphorical masks—it’s interesting to consider Mordechai surfacing in other nontraditional roles.

In the end, though, one of the most unique aspects of the stories of both Esther and Joseph is their political power within a secular world. Solomon, David, and Saul are more traditional models for royalty, but they were identified more with religious mandates than the comparatively more boring aspects of bureaucracy and administrative duties.

Jerónimo Cabrera, Mordecai Riding in Triumph, Queen’s Room, Pardo.

Perhaps Philip III and Margaret of Austria chose the biblical tales of Joseph and Esther to depart from the usual role models for kings and queens. Krain is correct to point out that there are a lot of historical and political traditions at play in the background of the series on Joseph and Esther, but it is instructive to consider the opposite possibility, that Philip III and Margaret of Austria were revolutionaries and iconoclasts rather than simply students of history. In that light, the biblical stories depicted in the Pardo Palace might be considered not only as stand-ins for New Testament tales, but as stories that are particularly relevant as Old Testament tales. Food for thought this Purim.

Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blog.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.

About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Purim Narrative At The Pardo Palace”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Menachem Wecker
Menachem Wecker

The exhibit, according to a statement from guest curator Michele Waalkes which is posted on the museum website, “examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.”

Weck-051812

It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.

One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)

Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.

It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.

Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.

The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?

Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/the-purim-narrative-at-the-pardo-palace/2012/02/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: