Updated: 4 days ago
The woman shown in the charcoal below had as much wealth and status as was possible for any woman in 5th century B.C.E Persia. She is Esther, beautiful and beloved wife of Ahasuerus, the all-powerful king of the Persian Empire. But at the moment shown, Esther is tremulous with fear and weak from three days of fasting. She is about to risk death by approaching Ahasuerus without having been invited and further by revealing to him that she is a Jew.
That she is a Jew matters because the king’s chief advisor has, through lies and slanders, persuaded the king to kill all the Jews in Persia. In Esther’s connection with the king is the last chance to avert the genocide. But to plead effectively, to rebut the advisor’s lies, Esther must reveal her Jewishness – a fact she has kept from her husband throughout their marriage.
In this decisive and dangerous moment, Esther (I imagine) is both pulled forward and held back by the strongest of emotions. The starkness of the medium – no colors, only shades of white, black, and grey – fits the starkness of Esther’s choices, and opens the way for the viewer to look inside.
Charcoal Drawing 12.5 in x 12.75 in
Acta alea est. (the die is cast)
Julius Caesar upon crossing the Rubicon River and thereby transforming himself from defender of Rome to invader
attributed to Caesar by Suetonius, Roman historian in Latin literally: the dice have been thrown
You will come to many crossroads throughout your life! Sometimes you will be very lucky because both ways will be the right way. Sometimes you will be very unlucky because both ways will be the wrong way!
Mehmet Murat Ildan contemporary Turkish playwright, novelist
I pray you never stand at any crossroads in your own lives, but if you do, if the darkness seems so total, if you think there is no way out, remember, never ever give up. The darker the night, the brighter the dawn, and when it gets really, really dark,
this is when one sees the true brilliance of the stars.
Gerda Weissmann Klein author, Holocaust survivor
Art as an Oasis™
Art as an Oasis is a series of occasional postings from the art of Carrie Kleinberger
providing a temporary respite from both mundane and monumental cares
complimented by words of wisdom from a diversity of others.