Ruth and Boaz rebel against the chaos of the period of Judges to pave the path toward a better tomorrow for their nation. In my artwork, I decided to recreate Michelangelo’s fresco The Creation of Adam, having the right hand represent that of both God and Boaz’s and the left that of Ruth’s. Upon Boaz’s encounter with Ruth, he calls upon God to reward her selflessness, and Ruth then seemingly expresses her gratitude toward God for orchestrating her good fortune. Yet she proclaims, “You are most kind, my lord.” This proclamation is written in such a way that “lord” is not capitalized, suggesting that Ruth is, in fact, thanking Boaz and drawing a comparison between him and God. Ruth’s hand is grasping the open, extended hand opposite it, symbolizing her search for a savior and her discovery of Boaz.
The cracks splintering from Ruth and Boaz’s hands display the potency a single act of kindness, of chessed, can have. The black border enclosing the blue sky illustrates the darkness and disorder of the tumultuous era. Nonetheless, there remain, dispersed throughout the black, white stars, symbolizing how Ruth and Boaz will find the light within the darkness. They will prove to be the ideal portrait of kingship and a model for their descendants and the Davidic Dynasty. Around Ruth’s hand, I’ve included what I believe to be the most significant verse in the book, and around Boaz’s hand is his response in which he calls her “daughter.” The Creation of Adam portrays the moment when God gave life to Adam, just as my own artwork portrays Boaz giving life to Ruth.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT: An Artistic Exploration of Megillat Ruth is a collection of art pieces centered around key moments in Megillat Ruth. I created these in response to prompts that were part of a Judaic Studies unit on the Book of Ruth, and, as you can see, decided to take a more artistic route with my submissions. There are statements associated with each individual artwork, but overall, this project meant a lot to me because it illustrates a book that I think has been greatly misunderstood. On the surface, Megillat Ruth seems quite uneventful, but if we look closer and deeper, as you will through the art pieces, the complexity of the narrative and its characters shines through.