STUDENT BLOGS: Theatre in London: Sites, Sounds, and Situations
Thou Art Weighed In the Balances
by Brittany Bland
At the feast of Belshazzar king of Babylon, wine is served in vessels his father looted from a temple at Jerusalem (Daniel: 1-5; A Divine Hand Appears). A divine hand appears and writes in Hebrew, "God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting". Belshazzar is killed that night.
This painting done by Rembrandt around 1636 hangs in the National Gallery. I was reminded of it by a show I had seen a few days ago called "Red."
Rembrandt paints a dark environment that spells of Belshazzar's impending doom. The piece radiates in already well-lit room. Since Belshazzar is covered with gold, his vanity is clear. The gold draped upon him seems to emit more light than the fixtures in the display room. In the background, a figure cloaked in shadow can been seen. I can only wonder if that is the king's murderer. The shock and awe etched on the King and his guest's faces are miraculous. The divine words are scrawled across the night's sky and look like bolts of lightning or energy shinning down from the heavens.
I love photography. My father was a photographer and my cheeks still hurt from the years of forced smiles. Our assignment at the National Portrait Gallery was to find portraits of the theatrical characters we had been hearing so much about on this trip. You know connect the words and seemingly endless facts with a face. Luke and I made a pit stop in a photography exhibit before venturing upstairs to see the portraits of artists long gone. The tears on her face is what drew me too her. It was a black and white photo of a pencil thin African woman of no more than forty years staring at me. She is turned to the side and has her shirt lifted up to chest level. There is a large gash poorly stitched together on her side. This photo captures the real emotions felt by this at that moment of time. Such a thing is rarely accomplished by other mediums. Such works are always tainted by the artist's hand or vision. After I took it all in, her FACE is
still the most beautiful of the piece. Wrinkled in years of pain, an American like me knows about and tears running down face that are so heavy the earth would shake as they fell. The story of this photo is told through her face. The photo is titled Rape is Also a Tool of War.