Page 89 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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COHEN ---- SZYK---- ILLUSTRATOR OF BOOKS
BIBLE ---- FOUNTAINHEAD OF DEMOCRACY
The frontispiece of this volume consists of a quotation framed
in gorgeous colors of vivid reds, blues, greens and gold, a magical
frame enclosing the immortal words written by the first translator
of the Bible into English, still true and valid as when they were
set down in 1384. These words describe the Bible as the fountain-
head of democracy, and of democracy as the incarnate spirit of
the divine in life:
“This Bible is for the government of the people,
by the people, and for the people.”
These words, made familiar by Abraham Lincoln’s adaptation of
them, summarize the whole spirit of Judaism and
The Holy Scrip-
tures
, and they express, too, the genius and spirit of Arthur Szyk,
the Jewish artist dedicating his art, even as did Bezalel of the
Bible, to the glory of God and the brotherhood of man.
* * *
In viewing the life and work of Arthur Szyk, one cannot but
realize that the great artist must first of all be the great man.
The great man is one who lives intensely, feels intensely, and
believes intensely, and seeks to serve that which is greater than
himself. As such, Arthur Szyk has become through his dedicated
art, the living chalice in which the divine spirit has brewed a rich
mixture of passion, conviction and beauty that brings its elixir
of life to the Jewish people and mankind.