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07  Heinrich Hofmann. Jairi Töchterlein. Gedenke Mein – Bild 4. Original drawing in pencil. Mark 5:22-24,35-43.

Photogravure made from the original pencil drawing.

This colourisation is unusual in that it elaborates on the original image and makes another quite demanding adaptation. Firstly, coloured pattern has been added to the drape, the counterpane and the rug, and the chair has been given a carved back. Together with the items in the original image, all of which have been retained, they cumulatively invoke the domestic – a private space decorated according to personal taste – maybe even according to 19th century American bourgeois taste. Secondly, the lighting of the scene has been altered. In the original pencil drawing, the light appears to come from us, the picture’s observers, as though we were holding up a light to see into this intimate setting of the young girl’s bedchamber and the private drama taking place – a privilege not afforded to those peeping in through the door behind. This reflects the character of the biblical account: only Peter, James and John were allowed access. Jesus’s halo of light which, in Hofmann’s drawing, replaces the usual Renaissance ellipsis has no natural effect on the illumination of the scene, suggesting the light is not of this world. The light in the colourisation also has spiritual purport: Jairus’ daughter now appears to be the light-source, and the world of daylight now waits beyond the chamber door. Is it too fanciful to assert that this was the re-drafters way of depicting the life now flooding back into the erstwhile dead girl through the touch of the Saviour, who, thus depicted, needs no halo to declare his power?

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