Saturday, May 08, 2010

Balage Balogh: Merging Art and Archaeology

One of the many tasks of the Bible artist is to recreate the ancient civilizations of Bible times. In our attempts to accurately portray scenes which are set in ancient Egypt, Babylon, Israel, Assyria or Rome etc, we utilize all the latest archaeological evidence available to us. We have often discussed the question "How important is it to add lots of historical detail into our Bible pictures?" The consensus was, that so long as it doesn't slow us down too much, (as we sometimes have many pictures to illustrate in one story), adding well researched historical details does help to make a scene that bit more convincing. I'm not saying that we need to go to the same lengths as Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema as he sought to "bring antiquity back to life," but I think that we should try, to the best of our abilities, to present each story in its correct setting.

Having said that, for a small number of Bible artists it's immensely important that all historical details are absolutely accurate! These are the Bible artists whose job it is to illustrate Study Bibles, and of course those very helpful illustrated Bible Encyclopedias and dictionaries that we use. These artists have the great privilege of working alongside Bible scholars, Archaeologists and Archaeological Architects like Dr Leen Ritmeyer, all experts in their respective fields. One such artist, Balage Balogh, contacted me a few weeks ago, and gave me permission to share some of his wonderful artwork on the B.I.B.

Balage, was born in Budapest, Hungary and attended art school there. As an immigrant he settled in New York before traveling extensively in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Orient. Balage has worked for many years with archaeologists, scholars and museums creating archaeological reconstructions, and shares our passion for Bible Art! He was excited to find "a community of Bible artists who hang out together on the B.I.B", and is looking forward to joining with us as we discuss the various issues surrounding Bible illustration. You can see more of Balage's Bible art at his website, but before you rush off there, check out the samples below. Enjoy!

King David's balcony 10thcBCJosiahNebuchadnezar's palaceNehemiahSolomon's Temple
All pictures on this post are © Balage Balogh 2010

11 comments:

Deboraw said...

Graham, I am speechless...almost. What stunning pictures! Before I run off to check sites listed, are there any explanations of the pictures? Maybe I'll find explanations in other sites. Again, really good work. Please pass admiration on to artist, smile. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

You're right Deboraw, I should have added the pictures titles when I posted. Have just added them now so you can see which is which.

Balage sent me a large number of pictures which are all excellent. It was hard to choose which ones to add!

Bible artist said...

P.S.
The Egyptian picture that appears at the beginning of the post is titled 'Karnak hypostyle hall'

I particularly wanted to include this picture on this post as I'm in the process of illustrating the 'Ten Plagues' set in Egypt. It nicely illustrates just how time consuming it is recreating scenes in ancient Egypt!

Patrick said...

I really like Balage's work - I've encountered a few pieces of them quite a few times before, and his work is really amazing. I'm with Deboraw - I'm at a loss for words! :)

Paul Green said...

Impressive work. I particularly like his use of lighting and depth.

Bible artist said...

I was looking today at some photos taken recently of the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak which is the subject of the Egyptian scene painted by Balage. If you look at the columns today, they all appear to be a sandstone color, but on closer inspection you can still see traces of all the original colors which have faded over time.

Interestingly, these same faded colors appear on the Egyptian columns in the Old Testament Bible paintings by William Hole. He painted exactly what he saw in 1900 but didn't think to restore the columns to their former glory as Balage has done.

Mangoman said...

Whoa! Some people have way too much talent and patience.
These illustrations are pure platinum, thanks for sharing them with us.

Matt Baker

Jason said...

wow...so cool! Do you have links to Bible's you've illustrated? I want one!

Balage said...

Thanks for having me on your site. I always wondered where the other Bible illustrators of the world were.
I feel like we artists have a certain responsibility when we put a face on the Bible and when we create a reality for the reader in need of visualization. In a sense we write history.

JulieMom said...

Hi there. Found your blog while searching for the weight of Goliath's armor. :0)

I am really amazed at the talent God has gifted you and others with. Wow! What honor you give to Him by using it for His glory!

Your blog is very interesting. Thank you for posting wonderful things. My girls and I (we homeschool) will be happy to look through all your links! Thank you!

Bible artist said...

Mangoman:
My pleasure Mangoman!

Jason:
I'm not sure in Balage has illustrated a children's Bible yet, but he's on my list of artists to interview, so I'll ask him then.

Balage:
Great to have you on the B.I.B. Balage. Yes, illustrating the Bible is a great responsibility and a great privilege too. Many thanks again for sharing your pictures with us and I look forward to hearing more from you on the blog. Looking forward to interviewing you soon too.

JulieMom:
Hi JulieMom, Many thanks for your kind comments. I hope you and the girls like all the links. If your girls are into Bible pictures maybe they could email me some of their own. I've been thinking of adding a gallery of children's Bible pictures.