The Last Door

rublev1

And I inclined myself to my Rabbi and I spoke into his ear and asked:
“Rabbi, where is the border to which mercy goeth and where the judgement begins?”
And the Rabbi answered me and said:
“There is no border. Go with thy brother to the edge of the pit and beyond.”
And I dared to remind my Rabbi, and to say:
“Is it not written: ‘The Lord is a just judge’? and is it not written further: ‘The Lord shall deal justly in all his ways’?”
But my Rabbi looked at me and answered, saying:
“Judah, Judah, am I come to put new patches on old garments? I am the last door, and if this door too be closed to them, where shall they knock?”
And I understood him and was silent.

from The Nazarene by Sholem Asch (1939).

 

Two versions of Andrei Rublev’s
icon The Saviour.
The pen drawing was completed yesterday;
the water-colour is from last winter.
 

Andrey Tarkovsky’s eponymous film about the 15th Century Russian icon painter is the painstaking study of one genius by another.
It deals with the faith that is required by the
artist to await inspiration; the struggle to bring forth a work of art into this world without forcing it through with too much mind and self and worldliness. Tarkovsky says in his book,
Sculpting In Time:

It is a mistake to talk about the artist
‘looking for’ his subject. In fact the subject grows within him like a fruit, and begins to demand expression. It is like childbirth…The poet has nothing to be proud of: he is not master of the situation, but a servant. Creative work is his only possible form of existence, and his every work is like a deed he has no power to annul. For him to be aware that a sequence of such deeds is due and right, that it lies in the very nature of things, he has to have faith in the idea, for only faith interlocks the system of images (for which read: system of life).
And what are moments of illumination if not momentarily felt truth?

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