Divine Geometry

  • In Proverbs 8:27–28, the Bible describes creation as "When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep."
  • The National Library in Vienna is home to an old miniature edition of the Holy Scripture where the Lord of Sabaoth (Sabaoth from the Latin, translating to hosts or armies, i.e., God Almighty), is depicted creating the earth out of chaos. Using a pair of compasses, He outlines its boundaries along the edge of a great abyss.
  • For the frontispiece of William Blake's 1794 book, Europe: A Prophecy, he created an etching called "The Ancient of Days." The impressive appearance of Blake's Almighty measuring the void has a lot in common with the figure of the Creator in Michelangelo's frescos.

The Bible story turned allegory with Blake now becomes a poetic metaphor in this painting. The scene conveys a thrilling sensation of grandeur and an awareness of a cosmic presence. Scale is important here. The tiny ship is being watched from on high by forces far more powerful than anything earthly.

But to the observer below – shipboard – all is normal, even natural. The moonlight on
the ocean follows the conventional laws of geometry and optics that define the boundaries
of illuminated land. The brightness of light at the top streams down gradually, dropping
at the sides where it meets with the earth's shadow. Only those of us who see the full
picture, glimpse at the greatness of the Creator.