The Hidden and the Revealed:
The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca
Hardcover: 190 pages
Publisher: Gefen Publishing House
available Nov.1, 2011
One of the most exquisite series of mosaics in contemporary art is celebrated in a newly released, lavishly illustrated large format book entitled The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca. Published by Gefen Publishing House of Jerusalem and New York, the book marks the culmination of a journey that began in 2002 with the first completed work in the series.
In a stirring testament to the significance of Broca's masterpiece, renowned American artist and feminist Judy Chicago writes in the book's preface: "The Queen Esther Mosaics by Lilian Broca contribute to the vital historic task of what the biblical scholar Naomi Graetz called for in S/He Created Them: Feminist Retelling of Biblical Tales (Chapel Hill, NC: Professional Press, 1993): '…to put woman's voice back where it should have been in the first place.'"
The ten monumentally sized works in the series retell the biblical story of Esther in dazzling detail, using the finest of Italian colored mosaic glass, plus gold leaf and other precious materials. The work won the prestigious Lorenzo de' Medici medal at the 2003 Florence Biennale.
In addition to showcasing the spectacular mosaics, the book includes a chapter by art historian Sheila Campbell comparing Broca's interpretation of the Esther story to that of other artists such as Rembrandt and Artemisia Gentileschi, and a highly evocative epic prose poem written in the voice of Esther by rabbi and scholar Yosef Wosk.
The book begins with Vancouver artist Broca's own lively description of her emigration from war-torn Romania to Israel and ultimately to Canada. She goes on to reveal what led her to tell the story of Esther in the medium of mosaics, describing as well the meticulous process involved in using ancient artistic techniques with a contemporary sensibility. The book is rounded out with the full text of Esther in handsomely calligraphed Hebrew alongside an English translation.
As Broca writes, "I trust that this series, the final segment that completes a circle in my life's artistic creation, would please the old Byzantine masters. And in doing so, I also hope my mosaics have brought new light to the fascinating, multifaceted story of Esther."
Artist Lilian Broca's career has spanned three decades, including thirteen years teaching painting and drawing. A recipient of the 2003 Florence Biennale gold medal, her work has been featured in sixty-five exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Celebrated for her spirited exploration of contemporary societal issues in a variety of media, Broca draws on historical iconography, legends, and popular myths.
Archaeologist, art historian, and curator Sheila Campbell has published widely on ancient and contemporary mosaics and Byzantine art. A Professor Emerita at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, she has curated many exhibitions, including a showcase of the Scuola di Mosaici (Friuli, Italy) at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Scholar, rabbi and former Simon Fraser University professor Yosef Wosk took inspiration from Broca's mosaics to create a lyrical prose poem in the voice of Esther. The prose is accompanied by notes illuminating Wosk's extensive investigation of biblical and mythological aspects of the Esther story.
The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca
Lilian Broca, Sheila Campbell, Yosef Wosk
Published by Gefen Publishing House Ltd., Israel and New York