Mel Alexenberg
Author of "Through a Bible Lens"

King Charles III Honored by Rembrandt Cyberangels

In honor of the Coronation of King Charles III on May 6. 2023 at Westminster Abbey in London, I created this visual narrative that can be minted as an NFT. The image in the narrative begins with a virtual flight of cyberangels from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the site where millennia ago angels in Jacob’s dream went up and down a ladder, and then into the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.

Dressed in period garb, I launched my Rembrandt inspired cyberangels from the great master’s studio to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London to bring good wishes to King Charles from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the great-great grandparents of his mother Queen Elizabeth.

My cyberangel artworks are in the collections of these museum in Jerusalem, Amsterdam and London. The cyyberangels that have been asleep in the flat files of the museums for three decades are coming alive, morphing into cryptoangels taking flight through virtual skies.

In the tradition of the British royal family, the coronation throne rests on a stone on which Jacob rested his head as he dreamed of angels ascending and descending. It became the stone under the throne of King David in Jerusalem three millennia ago that has found its way to the Coronation Throne at Westminster Abbey in London in 2023.

King Charles and Victoria and Albert are Family

The official opening by Queen Victoria of a museum for progress in art and design in 1857 was followed by her laying the foundation stone of its new building in 1899 and naming it Victoria & Albert Museum. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are the great-grandparents of King Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth participated in the opening of the “World of the Bible” exhibition at V&A in 1965 in co-operation with the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and “The Bible in British Art” in 1997 with a poster for the exhibition showing angels ascending and descending on a ladder. This poster joined my 1986 “Digital Homage to Rembrandt: Night Angels” computer generated serigraph in the V&A prints and drawings collection. Both the biblical Hebrew words for “angels” and “kings” sound the same.

King Charles is a keen and accomplished artist who has exhibited and sold his works to raise money for his charities and also published books on the subject. King Charles in 2021 commissioned seven major paintings of Holocaust survivors to add to the official Royal Collection of Art.  The project was part of the king’s long-standing aim of educating future generations and ensuring that the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten.

One emotional visit to Israel occurred in 2016, when Charles travelled to Jerusalem for the funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. While there, he visited the grave of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who saved Jews during the Holocaust and was honored as Righteous among the Nations. She is buried in Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

From Psalm 21, envision my cyberangels in the Victoria & Albert Museum descending on Jacob’s ladder to Jerusalem to hear King David sitting on his throne playing a lyre as he sings a sweet song to bring blessings of goodness to King Charles III as a golden crown is placed on his head.

Why Art is a Computer Angel

My story of why art IS a computer angel begins with the birth of cyberangels when I was listening to the ancient Hebrew words being chanted from a handwritten Torah scroll while translating them into English in my mind.  It described the artist Bezalel as being talented in all types of craftsmanship to make artworks” (Exodus 35:33). The Hebrew words for “visual art” literally mean “thoughtful craft,” a feminine term. When I transformed it into its masculine form, it became “computer angel.”

I rushed to tell my wife Miriam that I discovered that my role as a male artist is to create computer angels! I was equipped to create them as the head of the art department at Pratt Institute where I taught the first course on creating art with computers and was simultaneously research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

Since Rembrandt was the master at telling Bible stories with angels in his paintings, drawings, and etchings, Miriam and I went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to see them up close. He created artworks of Jacob’s dream based on the verse: “A ladder was standing on the ground, its top reaching up towards heaven as angels were going up and down on it.” (Genesis 28:12) The angels in Jacob’s dream go up from the Land of Israel and go down throughout the world heralding a message of peace: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

In Jerusalem, I created a serigraph “Angels Ascending from the Land of Israel” showing Rembrandt inspired cyberangels ascending from a satellite image of Israel. It is in the collection of the Israel Museum.

Rembrandt Cybererangels Fly around the Globe

My AT&T sponsored telecommunications art event on October 4, 1989 honored Rembrandt on the 320th anniversary of his death. I launched a digitized image of his angel on a circumglobal flight from New York to the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, Israel Museum in Jerusalem, University of the Arts in Tokyo, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and back New York. After a five-hour flight around the planet, the deconstructed angel was reconstructed at its starting point.

When it passed through Tokyo, it was already the morning of October 5th. When it arrived in Los Angeles, it was still October 4th.  Cyberangels can not only fly around the globe, they can fly into tomorrow and back into yesterday. Millions throughout North America watched the cyberangel return from its circumglobal flight over major TV networks’ broadcasts from New York. It was featured in sixty newspapers and the AT&T annual report.

The image in the middle level shows me in period garb in Rembrandt’s studio in Amsterdam welcoming a cyberangel from the Israel Museum’s Shrine of the Book where some of the oldest Bible manuscripts are housed that contain the narrative of angels going up and down the ladder in Jacob’s dream and sending the Rembrandt inspired cyberangel on to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

It seems that the cyberangels ascended the virtual ladder from Jerusalem to Amsterdam to London and have come back down to Jerusalem where this story began.

About the Author
Mel Alexenberg is an artist, educator, writer, and blogger working at the interface between art, technology, Jewish thought, and living the Zionist miracle in Israel. He is the author of "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media," "The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness," and "Dialogic Art in a Digital World: Judaism and Contemporary Art" in Hebrew. He was professor at Columbia, Bar-Ilan and Ariel universities and research fellow at MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. His artworks are in the collections of more than forty museums worldwide. He lives in Ra’anana, Israel, with his wife artist Miriam Benjamin.
Related Topics
Related Posts