A Blog for those who illustrate Bible pictures and those who use them! A place to discuss all aspects of Bible illustration.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Egermeier's Bible Story book
I've finally got hold of a copy of 'Egermeier's Bible Story book' written by Elsie E. Egermeier and illustrated by Clive Uptton, and I must say that it's superb!
If you're a parent, grand parent, or Bible illustrator, and you've been looking for a good children's Bible, this is the one for you! It's one of the best children's Bible story books to come out in recent years! I would highly recommend it.
This book contains 122 excellent illustrations by Clive Uptton, and has a very useful 'question and answer' section on each story that parents and children will love. These questions will be very useful too for children's quizzes. There are many other features too that you don't normally see in a children's Bible story book.
Full marks to the 'Warner Press' team!
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I've been surprised and shocked to find in recent years that many of the authors of Children's Bible story books have no real interest in the Bible itself!
For my children and grand children, I want a children's Bible that's been written by someone who loves God, and loves children. I believe that Elsie E. Egermeier qualifies on both counts.
I know It's true that many Bible illustrators have no interest in God or the Bible also, but I'm not sure that this would be as detrimental to the end product as the former.
I've just realised that the last two posts are about ladies called Elsie!
In my research for my new book project I came across an Australian comic book artist of Westerns who was found guilty of murdering his models. Looking at his work would give you no indication of his psychopathic nature.
I don't think it matters if a Bible artist is a believer or an agnostic or an atheist. As long as their work is effective. I personally think if all the Bible artists in the world were Christian we'd have a far less interesting mix of art styles and approaches to the subject.
Christians have no exclusive rights to the Bible. It's open to all.
Remember that all born again Christians are born again because they weren't believers at some stage in their lives. To restrict Bible illustration to believers is closing a door and is ultimately elitist and somewhat arrogant.
I agree. Like I said,"I'm not sure that this would be as detrimental to the end product as the former".
Two of those listed on my own 'favorite Bible artist' list have no religious beliefs to my knowledge.
If we excluded all but Christian Bible artists we would lose many superb artists. That wasn't really my point.
The point that I was trying to make is that not many Christians realize that many of the children's Bible story books available in Christian bookshops have been written by non christians for secular publishers, and for this reason can contain some dodgy theology! I was warning about the authors, not the artists.
This does touch though on a question that I've been wanting to blog about for a while.
How much theology can an artist put into a Bible picture? Is it possible for a Bible artist to include wrong theology in his or her Bible pictures? And if so, how?
I've not blogged about this as yet because I wanted to gather a few more thoughts on the subject.
Has anyone had any thoughts on this?
Okay Graham. I understand the point you're making better now. My comments weren't directed at you anyway but were just a general viewpoint. I know you too well to call you elitist or arrogant. You are far from both. :))
Regarding bad theology in an illustration - it would mainly be the fault of the writer rather than the illustrator as the artist only interprets the text. If someone adapts the Bible text in a sloppy manner then bad theology might follow. A certain Manga Bible is a prime example of revised theology of the original text. Therefore bad theology. And as a result some of the illustrations make Jesus look demonic.
I am aware that some writer-artists want to be creative with the text and interpret it in new ways but where do they draw the line?
In the wonderfully illustrated 'Road of Courage' the author Marcus Morris provides some 'hair curling' theology! Because this story is in strip form, 'thought bubbles' are used frequently. The problem here is that the thoughts of Christ, which are only hinted at in scripture, are here expressed in detail including His motives for doing things! Marcus Morris I believe was a vicar which shows that not all the bad theology in children's Bible stories comes from non believers!. Going back to my 'Can artists show Bad theology in pictures' question. Some Bible artists like to show the Lord Jesus laughing, all the time, in every situation! There's a scene in 'The Passion' where Jesus starts to splash Mary with water in a mischievous way. Does this suggest that God has a mischievous streak? How do we represent Jesus driving out the money changers? How as artists do we depict Gods righteous (sinless) controlled anger, as opposed to human (sinful) uncontrolled anger? And if we get it wrong.....is that not bad theology?
I think you're seeking perfection Graham. It's impossible. How can anyone possibly know what righteous anger looks like? If we are made in God's image then laughter and optimism have to part of that image. Jesus had the full range of human emotions. He probably showed tenderness toward females he felt close to. I feel Bible artists can fall into a trap of presenting a stiff, formal Jesus. He should appear more animated at times. I think we have all been conditioned by classical art with its excessive religiosity.
Jesus is always seen as untouchable but judging by Mary Magdalene's desire to touch Jesus following the resurrection I think this points to the fact that Mary (and others) were used to embracing Jesus during his ministry.
This is true Paul. Jesus is fully human and at the same time was God manifest in the flesh. I believe that He was very approachable. I understand that it might be impossible to illustrate the difference between divine and human anger, but this is not splitting hairs either. I was in a Bible study once when it was said that Jesus "Lost it!" when He was clearing the Temple. (I'm not sure if 'Losing it' is a term only used in the u.k. but it means to 'lose your temper'). I disagreed because this suggested that the Lord Jesus lost control of himself, and if He could lose control, He could sin!
So, even though it might not be possible to accurately illustrate the difference between divine and human anger, It's a subtlety that should still be taken into consideration by the artist, and if possible, captured. I think that it's right that we've moved away from the fierce Byzantine depiction of Jesus.
I agree with you also that we can fall into the trap of presenting a stiff formal Jesus, I think this might come from a fear of misrepresenting Him, (which is not a bad thing).
I can't ever remember seeing a picture of Jesus crying, and yet we know that He wept over Jerusalem, and was the 'Man of Sorrows'. We seem to avoid the extremes of emotion. Laughing is another example. Should we depict a laughing Jesus? In order to answer this we would need to analyze humor and reduce it down to it's basic components. e.g. Is all humor based on an unfortunate event happening to someone else, or is there an innocent form of humor?
Yes, we are made in God's image, but Christ was sinless. Maybe it's also been our attempt to try and capture the sinlessness of Christ that has resulted in us presenting a stiff formal Jesus too.
I know that all these questions might look like an over-analysis, and I know that 'presenting Jesus' is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit, but they are questions that Bible artists do think about, and I think that it's right that they should.
We might never be able to capture these subtle differences, but I think that Bible artists will always try!
Graham, I agree with your 'question'. I believe that is part of my frustration. The illustrations that we use 'teach', and as such we want to teach correctly. People are so gullible. I was discussing a 'new' movie in which 'Michael the Archangel' was depicted as a slovenly angel that lusted after someone (I never personally saw the movie, only heard what it was about)with a fellow once. His comment? I never knew angels could be like that? This was an adult (he was employed as a security guard)not dumb, however? I told him, How do these blokes from Hollywood know what an angel is like? "Oh," he said, "I never thought of that." -- Duh!
We can manipulate and insinuate by how and in what manner we illustrate. Jesus was a very personable person, but he would not have acted inappropriately.
Your question on can dodgy theology be illustrated? Sure can. Just like the fellow that explained why portraying the chains on the breast plate in a certain manner was important, I don't always understand how things work together, even the small things, but like a big picture depends on the small details...the beauty of God's design can be seen in all aspects...even the small details. Another 'Bible Story Book' that I like is "The Golden Children's Bible" (The Old and New Testament) published by Golden Books Publishing Company, Inc. Again, some of the illustrations do leave somewhat to be desired...but overall.... Well, that's my two-cents worth. Deboraw
The Golden Children's Bible is a good one. If I'm not mistaken, it's illustrated by the Fabbri Studios in Milan under the direction of Sandro Nardini and Aldo Torchio. I've tried to find out more about Fabbri Studios in the past without success.
They were in favor of a blond Jesus.
Graham, Yes, and there are several other things that are odd. But there are some good illustrations as well.
I agree. It is one of the better ones.
Graham, How interesting, I have a copy of the Egermeier's Bible Story book, but mine doesn't look like the cover you have at all. It is a nice red cover with a (classic) picture of Jesus to the right of the title. The title and picture are smack in the middle of the cover. The copy right is 1969, although I know I haven't had it more than twenty years. (My how time does fly, whether your having fun or not.) Anyway, it has to be the same, but? Thank you, however for causing me to go in search of this book, (I knew I had it somewhere, very annoyed face). There are very nice illustrations in it, as you have said. Again, thank you much. Deboraw
The version that I have, (in the picture), is the very latest edition, published 2007. I also have a black and white paperback version too. (Which I thought was going to be in color when I bought it on Ebay!)
The Golden children's Bible also has a few different covers too.
I knew Aldo Torchio personally. He was my brother-in-law. He had two sons, Dino and Edoardo Torchio, with my sister, Elvira Hrazdira. Aldo produced the illustrations for the Golden Children's Bible when he was working for Fabbri in Milan.
Does anyone know where I can find a copy of it?
Aldo Torchio was born 17-Sep-1925 in Cremona, Italy. He attended the Leone XIII school in Milan and began drawing for Italian educational publications in 1948. Between 1951 and 1953 he worked for Cino Del Duca in Paris, and illustrated comic versions of famous novels for the French market. In Italy, he drew covers and comic stories for Domenica del Corriere and Grand Hotel.
In 1951, he took over art duties on 'Il Cavaliere Ideale' from Alvaro Mairani in Il Intrepido. He was succeeded by Gino Pallotti. Also for Intrepido, he drew covers as well as 'Bufalo Bill' (1956) and for Intrepido Sport, he made 'Jene 2' in 1991. In the 1980s he drew comics for Il Monello.
Aldo Torchio was not a religious person.
Dear Francesco di Jedlesee,
I work at Mondadori Editore and I need to find Aldo Torchio's descendants.
Can you help me?
Thank you very much,
Elena Dal Pra
Hello to all.
Elsie E. Egermeier was my very dear and personal friend. She wrote the stories as a very young woman but never received financial benefits from the publications (there may have been a token payment of a few hundred dollars for the publication rights). She never married. I visited her, driving from Florida to Oklahoma City. I treasure many dozens of her letters to me, and she would send little notes to many of my fith-/sixth-grade pupils who greatly enjoyed her stories in public schools where I taught. She lived to a ripe age of about 97. She was a true saint, if there ever was, just like my mother. In fact, E.E.E. was like a grandmother to me. In the early 1990's, her book was translated into Russian and distributed inside the collapsing Soviet Union through the Egermeier Project, begun bya Baptist pastor whose life had been transformed by the book from his early boyhood (as it blessed mine, from my earliest years!). Her writings and books for children were always true to the Bible, without any sectarian influence or erroneous interpretation. Actually, I preferred the original version best, before revision by Arlene Hall, which made the stories shorter and blander. I loved Elsie's poems with which she introduced some of the stories, as: (from memory, as I've read the book many dozens of times)
"Beauty of face that shines alone
Not long may sit on a queenly throne,
For beauty of heart in the life must be seen,
Before there can be a beautiful queen!"
I remember sitting beside her in church (Capitol Hill Church of God in Ok City) during time of prayer requests...how she concentrated on each request, with her lips moving as she silently prayed during each announcement. What a genuine, saintly Christian she was, and now she rests in the Savior's presence, awaiting the certain day of glorious resurrection and eternal life and honor.
Paul Fausnight, Miami Beach
As a post script regarding the visualization of Christ: of course that is best done through the Word. As Paul put it so well: Christ is the visible image of the invisible God...
Nevertheless, in late May I was fortunate to meet in private for several hours with one of the original group of researchers of the Shroud of Turin (see his site: shroud.com), a Jewish man who is absolutely convinced of the Shroud's authencity. I had driven to Torino first to view it; then, after our conferencing, I enjoyed his lectures/slides another day. I am never one to believe in Catholic relics, but in this case, I too believe that this one is different. (The widely publicized carbon 14 tests were flawed by faulty sample selection taken from a medieval reweave/repair.) Not a scorch, not a painting, not a photographic process (unless it be of some miracle from the Resurrection, which is the logical conclusion, I would suppose), no sign of radioactivity...something to think about! But what is more important by far is that Christ can be seen in us!
Oops! I meant to spell "authenticity," of course!
Many thanks for this info. It's wonderful to hear from someone who knew EEE. It's always great to hear these personal stories for sharing with us, many thanks!
I have my Grandmothers Egermeier's
Bible Story Book, But it is in worn
condition. The book is burgundy in
color,a hard back version, it has a
picture of Jesus in the top center,
On the inside of the front page it
says property of my grandmothers name with a date of Oct.20,1940. All of the pictures say Providence
Lithograph Co. I have been looking
for another one that was in a little better condition to read to my grandchildren but I can"t find one like this. Any ideas where I might find one or are they a rare
@Anonymous last posted (not mine!):
Have you tried looking for Egermeier's Bible Story Books on alibris.com ? It usually carries a good selection at rock-bottom prices, and you can probably find the edition you look for. Good luck!
Thank you for your kind words and comments about E.E.E. She truly was a saint who loved God and children--and like you, I agree that I want such a person who is really acquainted with the Savior to tell my children about him! Indeed, she was a precious jewel; what a beautiful life that pleased God. This is real success, and her eternal reward is great.
I was trying to find Elsie Egermeier's biography on the web.
Nothing appeared. Thank you, Anoymous, for writing of your personal memories of her. I shall treasure them. I, as a child, read her Bible Story Book when I had a lingering illness. I was about 8 and I read it cover to cover. I believe it is what gave me my foundation for understanding the Bibile and influencing my life. My edition was the 1947 one.
I was born in 1942. I am so sad to know that she did not receive payment for them, but as you said, Elsie was a true saint who has assuredly her place at Jesus feet in Heaven.
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