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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Reliefs: ELIJAH FED BY RAVENS
ELIJAH FED BY RAVENS


ELIJAH FED BY RAVENS
early 20th century
Unidentified artist
carved and painted wood
26 1/4 x 16 5/8 x 7/8 in. (66.7 x 42.2 x 2.2 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson
1986.65.294
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This carving illustrates a story from the first book of Kings in the Old Testament. God wanted to punish the evil king of Israel, so he sent Elijah to tell the king that he would stop the rain from falling for three years. To escape the king’s anger, Elijah ran away to the desert where the ravens brought him “bread and meat” every day. The unknown artist used elements from the story, such as the ravens, the boulders in the river, and the folds in Elijah’s cloak, to create an eye-catching pattern of carved textures and bright colors.


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