Artwork Share Tweet

 
Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), The Heavens II, c.1923-1924; wood engraving, 6 1/16 x 4 9/16 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Harriet and Mortimer Spiller, 1976

Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), The Heavens II, c.1923-1924; wood engraving, 6 1/16 x 4 9/16 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Harriet and Mortimer Spiller, 1976

During the 1920s, Burchfield worked with J. J. Lankes and his brother Frank on a series of biblical wood engravings that was never completed as a book. Works such as The Whirling Wind (1924) and The Heavens II (c. 1923-4) are examples from this collaboration based on the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes. It was Frank's idea to publish an edition of Ecclesiastes, which he was enthusiastic to have enhanced by his brother and Burchfield's illustrations.

The stars included in The Heavens II (at one point, an alternative title was The Nebula In Orion As Seen If Viewed From The Moon) are interesting. On the left are the three stars in Orion’s belt and above them is Betelgeuse. Toward the center of the work is what appears to be Aldebaran and continuing toward the upper right are the three stars that are probably meant to be Aries. The two bright stars on the right might be from the constellation Cetus.

- From the exhibition Charles E. Burchfield: Oh My Heavens