Song of Songs: An Illuminated Manuscript

Contact: Shelley Lavender
(310) 440-1201

Debra Band’s  Song of Songs: An Illuminated Manuscript”
Exhibition at University of Judaism, May 22 -August 20

Debra Band’s work in Hebrew illuminated manuscripts draws upon her love of both the manuscript arts and of Jewish tradition and learning.   The manuscript “Song of Songs” includes 33 leaves of kosher slunk vellum crafted in Israel.  Deborah illuminated the 65 pages in intensely hued gouache (opaque water color), gold and palladium, as well as copper leaf.  The calligraphic hand she developed for this work combines qualities of both medieval Sephardic and Ashkenazic calligraphy to express both delicacy and strength. The exhibit runs May 22-August 20 and there is a public reception on Sunday, May 28, from 1-3 p.m.  Platt Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.   

“Song of Songs,” one of the shortest books of the Hebrew Bible, contains some of the most passionate and lasting love poetry in history.   Two very different understandings of the verses have developed over the millennia, a literal reading wherein the words are taken at face value as passionate human love poetry, and an allegorical understanding in which the poems are considered the love song between God and Israel.

Band interprets the poems as the daydreams of a couple within a walled garden. The new translation presented here is by David Band. It combines the most current linguistic and archeological scholarship with close fidelity to the original grammar and phrasing. The paintings present no full-body imagery. Instead, hands and arms (and one foot) reveal the lovers’ presence, while several recurring textile patterns hint at the lover’s activities.

The UJ is located at 15600 Mulholland Drive, Bel Air in the Sepulveda Pass, just east of the Mulholland Drive exit of the 405 Freeway. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (310) 440-1201 or the UJ, log onto .  

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