Ekphrastic writing: In words (either poetry or prose) vividly describe one of the paintings that you saw on our virtual tour of the gallery last week.
The vaunted halls lay open to the heavens, the sky a ceiling of sufficient magnitude to house such visions. Colossal trunks bore the skies weight, their roots slipping deep into the marble beneath, brilliant shades of red and gold. The marbled forest floor was smooth and cool to the touch, polished veins weaving their way through the rock, the pad of bare feet less than a whisper. Rich carpet cast a layer of litter to the forest floor, a soothing warmth from the soft marble. Two hundred shields clung to the pillars, each burnished with beaten gold that shone with a lustre to blind the eyes, sunlight to nourish the forest of stone and finery. Wine flowed like nourishing rain. Upon twelve silver steps lay one golden throne, encircled with ivory that had grown to embrace it. A pride of lions made their dwelt upon it, as peacocks strutted back and forth on the floor below, their grand plumage proudly vaunted. To such a place came all the kings of the Earth, to drink from pools of gold, sit upon chairs of cedar, to marvel at the denizens of such a dwelling, be garbed in raiment to make their own clothing little more than rags and grasp wisdom in their hands. Such was the Halls of the Forest of Lebanon.
Yet on this day the fierce lion stood stiffly at attention in every step, struck to stillness. The peacocks were drab, their feathers wan. The wine was soured in every cup, the lights of the shields were dimmed, the columns sagged, the carpet faded, the throne choked beneath the ivory. For a woman entered into the hall, and Solomon’s riches were nothing in the face of her presence. The Queen of Sheba had come, and the forest would be darkened forever after.
I elected to describe the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, an incredibly grandiose and biblical piece. There is a section in the Old Testament that describes the incredible wealth of King Solomon and the extravagance of the Halls of the Forest of Lebanon that I used for inspiration (2 Chronicles 9:13-29). I can also see its influence upon Poynter in his painting as well in the opulence on display and even the marvelous frame the scene is placed.
The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon
Sir Edward John Poynter England 1890
4 thoughts on “Blog #3: The Halls of the Forest of Lebanon”
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your description of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon.
Your use of descriptive language, metaphors and alliteration encapsulates the extravagance and grandness of the painting. While reading through your blog I felt like a was present in the Halls of the Forest of Lebanon, and I was viewing it with my own eyes. Your description was beautiful. The fact that you stated you sort influence from the Old Testament further relates to your description of the painting.
Although I think your description is beautifully written, my only constructive criticism is to add why you chose this painting out of the many other’s you viewed during your virtual tour. Was it because you remembered something about King Solomon that was mentioned in the Old Testament? Was it because you found this painting to be the most awe inspiring throughout the visit? I believe if you add this in the reader will be able to connect with your description more and they will be able to possibly relate to what motivated you to write about this specific art work.
Thanks Andrew, I look forward to reading your future blogs!
This is a really wonderful entry Andrew. Ekprhastic writing at its best! I hope you actually get a chance to see the painting “in the flesh” soon. It will really knock your socks off! Be sure to take your own ekphrastic piece with you when you go!!!