Saturday, January 30, 2010
How do you draw a 65 year old man?
The question above is a little misleading - the question should read "How would you draw a 65 year old man from the early Old Testament period?" (but that was a little too long for a post title!) I was pondering this question as I was illustrating the story of Enoch with his newborn baby Methuselah. The problem is, Enoch, (who was 65 years old), lived for another 300 years after the birth of Methuselah and before God took him. So, how old would Enoch have looked at age 65 bearing in mind that he was going to live another 300 years? I'm just wondering if the aging process at this time was much slower. The Bible tells us that the average life span was much greater up until, and just after, the flood. So, let's say for example that a man lived to be 500 years old. When he died, would his physical appearance have been like that of a typical 100 year old man today? Would this then mean that when he was 250 years old he would have the physical appearance of a 50 year old? And when he was 125 would he have looked like a 25 year old? In other words, could the whole aging process have been much slower? This might explain why so many first children were born to those over 100! For example, Enoch's father Jared was 162 when his first child Enoch was born. Methuselah was 187 when his first child Lamech was born, and Lamech was 182 when his first child Noah was born, etc.
A similar thought arose again last week as I was illustrating the story of 'Abraham and Sarah'. (picture 2 right). We've all heard how, when in Egypt, Abram asked Sarai to pretend to be his sister. Abram's fear was that, because Sarai was so "fair to look upon", If the men in Egypt knew that they were man and wife, they would kill Abram just to be with Sarai. Most Bible artists who have illustrated this scene depict Sarai to be in her twenties, when actually she was 65! Did she look younger though? More surprisingly, when the same thing happened again some time later with King Abimelech, Sarah was in her 90's! Now, I know that many ladies age well, for instance the actress Julie Newmar who played Catwoman in the original Batman TV series still looks amazing at 76, but how many men would kill off the husband of a 90 year old lady just to be with her? This is what was happening with Sarah! Was this because the aging process was slower then? I don't know, it's just a theory! The down side to slow aging would be that parents would have those difficult teenage daughters to cope with for about 30 years! :0p
I doubt that many theologians have lost any sleep over this question but it does have a relevance for Bible artists and illustrators who are seeking to accurately portray biblical events. I decided to depict Enoch looking as a youngish 65 year old man might look today. The reason being that if the pictures are used with children, and the person telling the story mentions Enoch's age, it might be confusing to the child if he looks a lot younger than 65. Drawing Sarah was more of a challenge! Most artists who show Sarah at 90 depict an old lady, but Sarah was still very "fair to look upon!"
Looking forward to your comments on this interesting subject.
There are two pictures in the 'Enoch' set and seven in the 'Abraham and Sarah' set which brings our total Bible picture count to 821.
At the end of this month we will be launching a brand new website! The new website will display every picture done over the last 14 months. as well as all our previous pictures from the old website. As soon as the website goes live I'll pass on the link via this blog. You will also be able to view all the pictures in large format too!