שבור: Framed 8" x 13" - Completed 12.16.2011


























This drawing is called שבור, which means 'broken,' and is based off of the story of Edgardo Mortara: a Jewish boy who was secretly baptized and the taken from his family by the Catholic Church in 1858.  Other than the word שבור itself, there are four other elements to the drawing.  First is the drawing of the Vatican in the lower left, with the Roman numerals on the facade replaced by the words "Edgardo M. has been taken."  On the right side of the drawing is a mezuzah, here representing Judaism and also the fact that Edgardo reportedly requested one while he was on the carriage being taken away from his parents (he was reportedly instead given a medallian of the Virgin Mary).  In the bottom center is a figure who is supposed to represent Edgardo - he was six years old when taken away from his family.  The fourth main element of the drawing is the blue writing, which symbolizes the water of baptism, and the water of tears shed by Edgardo's family, friends, and even the police who took him away.  The composition of the blue is meant to be a two-direction sweeping motion: both from the Vatican over to Edgardo representing the baptism from the chuch, and then from Edgardo to the church symbolizing the forced pull into the church.  The writing in blue is all slight variants of the basic baptismal formula: "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  The other element in the drawing is very minor: the black writing next to and above Egardo, which is simply the word 'broken' repeated as filler around the focusing of the blue.  For a brief overview of the story of Edgardo click here - or you can read the excellent book by David Kertzer.  For photos of the drawing process click here.




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