Early Tree of Life

I was in Ferrara in July of this year. It is a delightful city and a world heritage site. It once possessed a large Jewish community, and it has a modern Jewish museum with some splendid items on display

One item was an annotated Tree of Life drawn on vellum and dated Venice 1533. It is very large – from memory I would say it is 50cms or more across. It is displayed under “conservation lighting” and fearing it would become blurred and illegible if photographed from a distance, I took a series of mosaics. Each piece is a full-size photo with a Samsung S9. It is very clearly legible in my close-ups. The mosaic is huge – I began with a 9k x 9k canvas. If you click on the image you should get the full size (17Mb) version to inspect.

The pieces do not mesh together very well. NASA definitely do a better job of this sort of thing. I reasoned that as everything has been captured, the mosaic is of holistic interest and the pieces can be studied independently.

It is interesting to note that there are paths from Hod and Netzach to Malkhut. In some modern Trees (according to Chassidic traditions) these paths are moved to connect Gevurah to Chokhmah and Chesed to Binah. These two alternative ways of drawing the ToL can be confusing to anyone who has not yet understood that a map is not the territory. As for age and authenticity, I suspect this version is older.