Artwork of the Week: February 23

 In MOA Artwork of the Week

Elihu Vedder, The Recording Angel

Elihu Vedder (1836-1923), The Recording Angel, c.1884, lithograph, 11 x 8 1/4 inches. Brigham Young University, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate.

This week we celebrate the birthday of American symbolist artist Elihu Vedder. A painter and illustrator, Vedder’s intricate illustrations of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám may be considered his most stand-out achievement.

In this illustration, Vedder interprets the cautionary passage in context of the Recording Angel spoken of in the Book of Revelation: “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, / Moves on: nor all your Piety and Wit / Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, / Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.” Out of the 61 images in the book, this is one of only four in the book that doesn’t contain the text of the poem and is by far the most detailed.

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