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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cedars of Lebanon

Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka (1853, Kisszeben - 1919, Budapest)
The Solitary Cedar 1907
Oil on canvas, 194 x 248 cm
Janus Pannonius Museum, Pécs


Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka (1853, Kisszeben - 1919, Budapest)
Pilgrimage to the Cedars in Lebanon 1907
Oil on canvas, 200 x 205 cm
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest


In 1907, Kosztka travelled to Lebanon. The cedars of Lebanon appear to have more than caught his attention.

The Lebanon Cedar is an evergreen coniferous tree growing up to 40 m (130 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) diameter

Jewish priests were ordered by Moses to use the bark of the Lebanon Cedar in circumcision and treatment of leprosy.

Isaiah used the Lebanon Cedar as a metaphor for the pride of the world.

According to the Talmud, Jews once burned Lebanese cedar wood on the Mount of Olives to announce the new year.

Kings far and near requested the wood for religious and civil buildings including King Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem and David's and Solomon's Palaces.

References to the Cedars of Lebanon abound in Scripture. Here is only one from Psalm 92: (v 12-16)

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the Lord is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him