Friday, March 09, 2012

Lilith



As I have said before the State Of Delaware has poor museums, but there are other museums in Delaware that are not state run. One of which is The Delaware Art Museum.

What makes the Delaware Art Museum so special for me is the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelites. Samuel Bancroft Jr (1840 -1915)started a collection of Pre-Raphalites and eventually he donated them to the Wilmington Society of Fine Arts which became the Delaware museum Of art.

The Pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood was founded by in 1848 by a group of young English painters including John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rosetti, and William Holman Hunt. Their art was a reaction against the academic painting of that time, which they considered to be unimaginative and pompous. They believed that the Renaissance painter Raphael had had a negative impact on the tradition of academic painting, and looked to artwork prior to the time of Raphel for their inspiration-- hence the name Pre-Raphaelite.

For me the best know characteristics of Pre-Raphaelites is Serpentine Hair.

One of the most impressive paintings in the group at the Delaware art Museum is called Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The painting represents the attraction of purely sensual beauty through the figure of Lilith, in Talmudic legend the first wife of Adam, who runs away from him to become a witch.

Based on Jewish folklore, The Lilith story goes along these lines;

When God created Adam, he was lonely, so God created Lilith from the same dust from which Adam was molded. But they quarrelled; Adam [the proverbial domineering male] wished to rule over Lilith. But Lilith [a militant feminist] was also proud and willful, claiming equality with Adam because she was created from the same dust. She left Adam and fled the Garden. God sent three angels in pursuit of Lilith. They caught her and ordered her to return to Adam. She refused, and said that she would henceforth weaken and kill little children, infants and babes. The angels overpowered her, and she promised that if the mother hung an amulet over the baby bearing the names of the three angels, she would stay away from that home. So they let her go, and God created Eve to be Adam's mate [created from Adam's rib, so that she couldn't claim equality]. And ever since, Lilith flies around the world, howling her hatred of mankind through the night, and vowing vengeance because of the shabby treatment she had received from Adam. She is also called "The Howling One."

Lilith is the most notorious demon in Jewish tradition. she embodies the emotional and spiritual aspects of darkness: terror, sensuality, and unbridled freedom. More recently, she has come to represent the freedom of feminist women who no
longer want to be"good girls.

Now the only Lilith I have heard of is the character played by Bebe Neuwirth on the sitcom "Cheers," Lilith Sternin, and later on the sitcom "Frazier".


So maybe the character does match up with Lilith.

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