Artist’s Book Puts Old Testament in New Light
E.C. native’s paintings interpret ancient religious text
After seven years of painting, it’s finally here: the Illustrated Old Testament: King James Version by Samuel Robertson. These paintings, visual renditions of the Old Testament, create a Bible reflecting modern times.
“It’s about exploring, in a roundabout way, the impact this book (The Old Testament) has had on current society,” said Robertson, an Eau Claire native and creator of the book’s 257 paintings. (Check more of them out in this September 2021 Volume One article.)
The paintings are interpretations of passages from the Old Testament, illuminating humanity and its ups and downs, as well as the complicated nature of people, the modern world, and consumerism, Robertson said.
“(It’s) one of the most-read books ever, but I felt like I could do a different thing with it than has been done historically,” he said. “It’s … a reimagining of this super formative text that has influenced us all, directly or indirectly.”
Robertson wanted to illustrate a book, and then one day the Old Testament randomly popped into his head. He began by reading the Old Testament and marking passages that inspired him to create.
Open up the book, and you’ll find a painting on the left-hand page while on the right is the Old Testament text with the passage that inspired the artwork in bold. The paintings are bright, bold, unique, and weird; they connect ancient text with a modern view of today’s world.
The book is available for $130 (the price will rise to $150 in June). The first 300 copies available now are autographed by Robertson. He hopes to eventually get the book in hotels (it’s already slated to be placed in rooms at Eau Claire’s Oxbow Hotel), libraries, and anywhere else. Robertson will be on a book tour in early June, with stops including Minneapolis, Chicago, South Bend, Detroit, Milwaukee, and the Volume One Gallery at The Local Store, 205 N. Dewey St., Eau Claire, on June 11.
Experience an artistic version of the Old Testament like never before.
To purchase the book and learn more about Robertson, visit misterrobertson.com.
Each pair of pages in Samuel Robertson’s illustrated Old Testament features an original painting is his unique, modern style which illustrates a particular passage. Here’s an example below:
“The elders of the daughter of Zi’-on sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Je-ru’-sa-lem hang down their heads to the ground.” (Lamentations 2:10)
More Old Testament illustrations: