Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities: Washburn College Bible

Washburn College Bible and related prints

Bradbury Thompson (1911-1995)
Washburn College Bible, 1979

According to the website designishistory.com, the Washburn College Bible was the “most significant development in Bible typography since Gutenberg first published his Bible in 1455.” Thompson used a highly legible typeface and printed the text on uneven lines following the natural phrasing of the reader. Reproduced within are sixty-six masterpieces of religious art, selected by J. Carter Brown, Director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Joseph Albers (1888-1976)

Three original screen prints were created by Joseph Albers as the frontispieces for the three volumes of the Bible. Thompson undoubtedly knew Albers from his years at Yale, where Albers taught from 1950-1958 and was active thereafter. The forward to the first edition of the Bible explained the significance of these works. These works are part of the collection of Mulvane Art Museum, Washburn University.

Introitus, 1973

Introitus takes its name from an opening ceremony of the church. It suggests with illusionary lines the interior of a great cathedral, receding from foreground to the altar in the distance. The work takes its color from the first chapter of Genesis, “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.’”

Seclusion, 1973

With its somber background and maze-like pattern, Seclusion describes in graphic terms the melancholy wandering of the tribes, as described in the Old Testament.

Ascension, 1973

In Ascension, the graphic symbolism is especially brilliant, as Christ seems to rise in a radiant cloud of linear forms.

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