Columbus is placed at the prow of the “Santa Maria”, leaning out, desperate to detect the first sign of land ahead.
The most crucial time of his life must have been in those two days’ ‘grace’ his mutinous crew had given him to sight land before turning back on a home voyage which, even had they survived, would have branded him a fraud, a charlatan and pathetic failure.
Before him – if land would indeed he found in those last hours – was the total vindication of his life, immense rewards, fame and his assured place as one of the great men the world has known. For an unknown adventurer who had gambled everything, it was the moment of his fate.
The cursive handwriting in which he recorded this voyage to create an impression of the ocean with the “Nina” and “Pinta” flanking his ship some distance behind is used. His cryptic signature open to many – including Kabalistic – interpretations, stands out in gold at the front.
|Behind him and circling his head, is an armillary sphere set into a semi-globe, the northern hemisphere as interpreted by the cartographers of his time. This is framed in a circular ring with a quotation from the prophet Ezekiel 27*35 “All the inhabitants of the Isles shall be astonished at thee”.
An arched cave-life space at the base of the “Santa Maria” holds an Indian God of gold and precious stones, hinting at that mixture of motives, exculted and venal, which prompted the voyage and resulted in that transformation of our history symbolized by Columbus.
The sculpture is approximately 1.85 meters high and 1.25 meters wide, made of pewter and bronze with gold and silver plated elements. It is visible on both sides, the obverse side illustrating navigational instruments, maps and seamen and mapmakers such as Rabbi Abraham Zacuto, Cresques, and Vecinho, whose work made the great voyages of the 15th century possible (and whose “reward” was the infamous expulsion of their people)
The sculpture panel has been exhibited in Madrid, Granada, Lisbon and Gerona. A full size copy has been commissioned for Mexico City. It stand in Jerusalem in The Mamila Boulevard.
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