The Song of Salomon
Bronze, fonte à la cire perdue – H 96 x 112 x 37 cm (ouvert)
Introduction ( gates closed )
The Song of Salomon is a poem of love which is said for to be writen by Salomon, this poem is so beautiful that it became a kind of prototype of the poetry of love. This song of love between the two protagonists is so carnal and so suggestive that we can wonder why it is present in a sacred book.
The Song of Salomon is said to have two levels of reading : a profane level of reading and a sacred level of reading.
Maïmonide ( XIIth century ), this great commentator of the Bible, wrote about it :
« The Song of Salomon is like a golden apple wrapped in silver roots ». That is to say, when we see the Song of Salomon from the outside, we see the silver roots, love between a man and a woman, which is beautiful and which corresponds to the profane level but if we plunge into its deep understanding, we find gold which corresponds to the sacred level, love between God and Men. This is the whole question of the outside and the inside, the form and the reality.
Indeed, there is two levels of reading of the Song of Salomon : the first level, the profane level : love between a man and a woman ; this is the literal level, the level of the forms, of the appearances. The second level of reading : we must transpose this temporal and earthly love in a sacred love which exists between God and Men.
The Song of Salomon had been illustrated by the greater artists ( notably Matisse ) and Michel Levy showes to us a very personel interpretation.
The level of the appearances (opening of the first gates )
( stay near the triptych )
We are now into the first level, the profane level, level of the forms and the literal level.
To symbolize this level of the forms, to each sides of the Song of Salomon ( in its innate language ), Michel Levy carved the two hollow protagonists of the Song of Salomon which have the stifling characteristic of being perceived in relief if you move backwards a few steps. Michel Levy used this characteristic to underline that
- from the symbolic point of view - the first reading of the Song of Salomon is nothing else than an appearance ; as the relief of the characters is an appearance, the love between this man and this woman described in this poem is a parabole to describe the sacred link between humanity and its creator.
We are now entering into the sacred level of the Song of Salomon
Michel Levy helped himself with the commentary of Maïmonide whom we spoke before, the golden apple and the silver roots.
The sacred level ( openig of the second gates )
I remind you of the commentary of Maïmonide about the Song of Salomon : he compared it to a golden apple wrapped in silver roots : from the outside, we see the silver roots - which are beautiful - which correspond to the profane, literal level and which correspond to love between a man and a woman but if we plunge into the inside, we discover the gold, the sacred level, the love song which exists between God and the Mankind.
You can notice a mystic Jerusalem all around the apple.
’’Cantique des cantiques, de Salomon.’’
Qu’il me baise des baisers de sa bouche !
Car ton amour vaut mieux que le vin,
tes parfums ont une odeur suave ;
ton nom est un parfum qui se répand ;
c’est pourquoi les jeunes filles t’aiment.
Entraîne-moi après toi !
Nous courrons !
Le roi m’introduit dans ses appartements…
Nous nous égaierons, nous nous réjouirons à cause de toi ;
nous célébrerons ton amour plus que le vin.
C’est avec raison que l’on t’aime.
Je suis noire, mais je suis belle, filles de Jérusalem,
comme les tentes de Kédar, comme les pavillons de Salomon.
Ne prenez pas garde à mon teint noir :
C’est le soleil qui m’a brûlée.
Les fils de ma mère se sont irrités contre moi,
ils m’ont faite gardienne des vignes.
Ma vigne, à moi, je ne l’ai pas gardée.