Song of Songs Elegant Decadence (George Barbier)


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In black-gold-white, did the Song of Songs ever look so elegant, strange, and sexy? Greek or Japanese? Designed by George Barbier in art nouveau style, the version of the biblical book reeks of perfume and musk. There’s a definite air of Japonisme in the use of blank gold backgrounds and highlighted flowering branches. As if from another planet, the decadent figures are pagan and alien. The life they enjoy is their own,  lush, and metallic. I saw it on display at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair last April (2014) over at Marilyn Braiterman Rare Books. Infinitely kind, my mother always lets me photograph the books that interest me.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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