God said, “Let us make man with our image and likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)
This painting is part of a series called “The Seven Days of Creation.” The series came into being out of what Raanan calls “creative chaos – or, more accurately, artistic abandon.” Raanan recalls, “I was working on large rag papers, freely spilling and splashing paint with abandon, without any idea of where I was headed.” These colorful, highly abstract creations then became the “under-layers” for the series, Raanan choosing a given rag paper and matching it with a day of creation according to the color, light and feeling that it projected. He then worked over theacrylic base with pastel crayons.
It is uncanny how the artistic process mirrors the process of Creation. We read in the opening sentences of Book of Genesis how God shaped chaos into the world we now know: and we see that Raanan also started out with abstract chaos from which he drew the shapes of the things formed during the “Seven Days.”
The sixth day, when human beings were created, was the apex of the process of Creation. Raanan painted the sixth day in two versions. The first started out as predominately blue and red, the colors of heaven and blood, representing our spiritual and physical components. Upon this background, Raanan painted the first couple “with their bodies akin to trees that are rooted and growing. His body has a lot of light, and one can discern sinews and muscles. She is smaller, more hidden, emerging out of the foliage.”
In the first version, Adam and Eve glow with light, alluding to the Talmudic understanding they were in fact spiritual beings made of light. (Bereisheet Rabba 20:29) It was only after they had eaten the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that they acquired opaque bodies covered with skin. Adam towers over Eve, whose bluish hue suggests the moon. Indeed, the Talmud frequently compares the man to a sun and the woman to a moon, commenting on their inherent inequality. (Chullin 60b)
Between them can be seen a red field. This recalls Adam’s creation from the earth − in Hebrew, adamah, a word which shares its root with adom, meaning “red,” and adameh, meaning “I will imagine.” When Adam was created in the image and likeness of God, in some way the power of imagination was imparted to him and his descendants, who use that power to create out of the substances the earth produces.