I just can’t express how moved and fascinated I have been by Makoto Fujimura’s Four Holy Gospels. It is a beautifully bound and printed volume, with the text of the four Gospels — from the English Standard Version — illuminated by abstract, delicate, and evocative brushstrokes. (Well, almost all of the illustrations are abstract.)
I have found myself sitting for long periods of time with the book in my lap, my eyes moving from the text to the illuminations and back again.
Restraint is perhaps the most notable virtue on display here. Each chapter has its own illuminated capital, and all of them are beautiful.
But beyond that, Fujimura has placed his mark upon each page in extraordinarily subtle and gently compelling ways. As a result, the few pages which do feature more detailed illumination stand out with particular power — but then passing from them to the more austere pages, with the black text and generous white space, yields another kind of power.
There’s a PDF excerpt here
that conveys more of the richness and sweetness of this wonderful work than I can in words. Please check it out, and if you’d like to buy your own copy — don’t blink at the price if you can help it, it’s an absolute bargain, considering the quality of the whole enterprise — you may do so here
. This is a book I’ll treasure for a long time, and then one day pass along to my grandchildren, I hope.
February 7, 2011