Parshat Chayei Sarah

Acrylic, pastel, Prismacolor and irredescent paint on parchment, 2015

Artist: Audrey Flack, USA

I feel strongly about portraying Jewish women as beautiful. Society has denigrated the way Jewish women look, and not portrayed them realistically. The preferred style to be emulated when I was maturing was high WASP [white Anglo Saxon Protestant], which resulted in Jewish women straightening their hair, shortening their noses, getting breast reductions, and fasting to become skinny.

I became fascinated with Sarah, the great mother of the Jewish nation, because she is one of the most popular and well-known female figures in the Bible today. She is repeatedly referred to as beautiful and her beauty, we learn, attracted men. When Avram and Sarai (their names before God changed them to Avraham and Sarah) go to Egypt due to a famine in Canaan, fearing that Sarai’s beauty might endanger them, Avram asks her to lie by introducing herself as his sister rather than his wife. Pharaoh takes Sarai as Avram had feared, but God compels him to release her untouched. Later, we again encounter the same lie about Sarah to Avimelech for the same reason – her exquisite beauty.

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About Audrey

Audrey Flack is an internationally recognized painter and sculptor and a pioneer of photorealism. Among the major museums around the world, her work resides in the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

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