THE WISE DREAMER: on the wings of ‘The Dream of Solomon’ by Luca Giordano

The mysteries and histories of dreams and visions have long impressed man and aroused his curiosity. They feature commonly in the Bible. God who could manifest Himself through thunderstorms and earthquakes was believed to communicate through dreams as well. Right from Abraham to Abimelech, from Jacob to Joseph and from Samuel to Daniel, the Almighty revealed his divination through visions and dreams. The most popular impression among them is the dream of Solomon.

The plot goes thus. King Solomon ‘loved the Lord’ (1 Kings: 3:3). He went to Gibeon, the most important high place, to offer a thousand burnt offerings. That night God appeared to the king in a dream and offered him a boon. Rather than bidding for long life, riches or success at war, the young king prayed to be endowed with wisdom. His request pleased Yahweh who rewarded the king multi fold with wisdom, wealth and fame.

Luca Giordana enlivens this tantalizing and intangible episode by striking his brush and imagination.  Far from extinguishing the visible through the dark of the night, Giordana allures the invisible through the glistening lights. The scene is cast not on earth but among surging billows of clouds.

We are at once captivated by the image of God the Father. Enveloped in glorious splendour, His outstretched arms and sublime majesty embraces the earthly ruler. He is surrounded by the heavenly host, each absorbed in action. The first blurts, ‘How marvellous is the sight!’ the second with hands joined acknowledges, ‘All Glory to God’. The angel to the right of the Almighty mourns at the bleak of the eventual while the ones below hush the curious mortals.

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