Sunday, February 16, 2020

Raphael's "The Prophets Hosea and Jonah"

Today, the National Gallery opened a Raphael special exhibit commemorating the 500th anniversary of the artist's untimely death. For me this 1510 drawing of "The Prophets Hosea and Jonah" was the highlight. I love how "Mosaic" the seated Hosea looks—very reminiscent of  Michelangelo's Moses. Hosea, after all, was a prophet in Moses' direct line (Deut 18:15). The verbal revelation of God was absolutely key for Mosaic prophets, and Hosea is writing it down. The angel's gesture indicates how the prohet's words bring us right into God's very presence. Jonah, on the other hand, looks away from all the spiritual action. Clearly, the "un-prophet" is unconnected with the divine dynamic that should orient him. Instead he bears an expression of distress and worry. Whatever he is hearing from heaven, it does not sit well with him.